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JOHANNESBURG - A positive death movement is sweeping through the West - from death doulas and death labs to  death cafes, fake FUN-erals and a WeCroak app! Yet, death remains one of the most taboo topics for  many. 

Most of us don’t like to think about it – let alone discuss it with loved ones. Of course, this has  major implications, like the fact that over 60% of South Africans don’t have wills. And 40% of SA’s  workforce is more likely to have cell phone insurance than life insurance.

Karen Bongers, development actuary at Sanlam Individual Life said: “Sanlam’s Conversations with  Yourself campaign is a thought-provoking investigation of one big idea: what would you ask if you  could have a conversation with yourself at varying ages and life stages? I think it’s very pertinent to  the topic of death  because you need to ask yourself the tricky questions before you can bring these  up with your loved ones"

"Ask yourself what would happen to your family if you were to suddenly pass away. How can you  make sure they continue to live a comfortable life? What opportunities do you want for your  children and m aking financial preparations for your family and then talking to them  about these is one of the most loving things you can do.  Once you know what you want to bring up, then you’re ready to chat to your family."

Here, Bongers outlines some of the things to think about when talking about death:

1. Aretha Franklin is one of the latest high profile celebrities to pass away without a will, which  means state laws will govern the dividing of her estate.  Without a properly drafted will, the  deceased’s wishes often remain unclear, which can cause confusion and draw out the  process unnecessarily. Often no will cause  family fall-outs and can open a family up  to harmful fraudsters.  You may also want to let your  family know where the document is kept

2. Life insurance is essential to ensure dependents are not left destitute and can continue to  pay all foreseeable future living expenses.

3. From a legacy perspective, many inheritances are lost because parents fail to communicate  with their children. Have family discussions about wealth, so that  upcoming custodians appreciate the value of their inheritance and how to  handle it.

4. Speak to your family about  money management, gently bring  or suggest that they  have their own trusted financial adviser so they’re not left stressed out when you’re gone. 

5. Get Life insurance, as it  is more cost effective and meant to cover the bulk of a family’s need in  terms of paying off debt and covering future expenses.

6. Talk about what kind of funeral you might want and how much your  family will need to achieve this. Then you can decide on the appropriate amount of funeral cover  you might need, in conjunction with the underwritten life insurance product you choose.

Karen Bongers is a development actuary at Sanlam Individual Life

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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