Getting your house in order involves big things, such as having life insurance and a valid will, but they also involve a number of small things that can easily be overlooked.  Picture: Startup Stock Photos/Pexels
Getting your house in order involves big things, such as having life insurance and a valid will, but they also involve a number of small things that can easily be overlooked. Picture: Startup Stock Photos/Pexels

Is your house in order?

By Martin Hesse Time of article published Apr 26, 2020

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WORDS ON WEALTH

Are you feeling depressed at the moment? I certainly am. This virus has utterly upended the world that we took so for granted and there’s very little positive news on our progress in defeating it. Globally, its grip seems unrelenting.

So forgive me for broaching a topic that is likely to depress you further, but it’s something you need to consider at this time: emergency hospitalisation and the possibility that you won’t make it.

What may cheer you up slightly is that if you have your affairs in order, you are likely to sleep more peacefully, knowing that if anything happens to you, those closest to you will be not be burdened with extra worries in sorting out your finances. These preparations involve big things, such as having life insurance and a valid will. But they also involve a number of small things that can easily be overlooked.

The worst aspect of this pandemic is that people are separated from their families in their time of deepest distress. A recent BBC programme highlighted how paramedics have the heart-wrenching task of loading sick people into ambulances with their loved ones looking on despairingly, not knowing whether they will see their partner or parent alive again.

In a blog on her firm’s website, Sue Torr, director of the Cape Town-based financial planning practice Crue Invest, has made a list of things you need to consider. Here are some of them:

* Personal and medical details: Have on you your identity number and contact details for your next of kin. You should also have your medical scheme number and what plan you are on, your GP’s contact details, and other relevant medical information, such as your blood type.

* Bank accounts: “Does your partner have access to your bank account login details? To whose phone are one-time PINs sent when transacting online? Does your partner know your ATM PIN if he or she needs to draw money?” Torr asks.

* Minor children: If you are a single parent, ensure that you have plans in place for the care of your children.

* Payment of accounts: Ensure that bills will continue to be paid.

* Access to cash: “Ensure that your loved ones can access your emergency funds quickly and with minimal red tape,” Torr advises.

* Living will: “A living will gives guidance to your loved ones and medical practitioners as to how you would like to be cared for if you are unable to communicate your wishes. If you have one, be sure to communicate it to your loved ones,” Torr says.

* Location of your will: Let your partner or family members know where your will is located, and ensure there are no old wills among your papers.

* Digital will: “This is an informal document that sets out the user names, passwords and login details to your social media platforms, online subscriptions and accounts, and instructions on managing these accounts in your absence,” Torr says.

* Power of attorney: Consider giving someone signing power over your financial and business affairs.

* Life policies and investments: Leave information about these with a loved one. Check that premiums will continue to be paid. Bear in mind that in the event of your death, the proceeds of life policies and retirement funds (but not discretionary investments) are paid directly to your nominated beneficiaries. Torr cautions that if you have not appointed any beneficiaries, the proceeds will be paid into your estate and will be subject to the winding-up process.

* For the full article, go to http://crue.co.za/blog/.

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