As I moved home and let go of tons of stuff, I spent some time getting my paperwork in order. No one really likes to talk about death, but its a part of the natural progression of life – we are born, some of us live and without a doubt, we are all going to die.

Somewhere in the back on my mind was this nagging thought that I did not want to leave whoever gets to clear out my stuff with years and years of junk and needless stuff (although let us be honest, what I may treasure may well be considered junk to others) and paperwork that would need to be sorted out first. I went through this with my ex partner when his mom was on her deathbed and he decided to get the years and years and years of bank statements he’d not opened, filed and ready for the executor of her estate.

I cringe at the thought of one of my children or my sister having to find stuff while dealing with the reality of death. I feel its simply considerate to have your ‘house’ in order, or at least, as orderly as possible to allow them to get through the grief without having to stress about where paperwork may be.

I got to work on the list my sister had shared from an online coach Nikki Bush and then today I ran across a more condensed list which I trust will help you should you be ready to get your documentation in order.

I have a ‘red file’ and it’s labelled “What If … “. I’ve been working at getting all the necessary documents filed along with contact info etc. I must admit though that I’m not comfortable with leaving my banking access info in there, so for the moment I have not added that.This morning a newletter I get had the following article – which I thought I’d share, its not as long or indepth as the one linked above, but its a good starting place.

A comprehensive 25 point checklist to prepare for the inevitable – death

In the event of an emergency or death the following documents are crucial to include in your personal ‘ready to depart’ file, which can be kept in a safe or filed with your lawyer for safe keeping while you are alive:

  1. The contact details of your lawyer, insurance broker, financial advisers, doctors and tax consultants all of whom need to be notified when you pass away
  2. A copy of your will and your living will (communicating your desire not to be kept on life support)
  3. Medical information and history for yourself and other dependent family members
  4. Unabridged birth certificates for each member of the family
  5. Your ID book or card and Driver’s license
  6. Your Marriage certificate
  7. Should you have one, a copy of your ante nuptial contract
  8. In the case of being divorced, copies of any divorce and maintenance agreements
  9. In the event that you are widowed, certified copy of your late partners’ death certificate as well as information of the executor who attended to the deceased estate of your deceased partner
  10. The most updated tax assessment for both yourself and your partner
  11. Passwords or pins for phones, computers and bank accounts, encrypted using an app like LastPass to keep them safe.
  12. Bank details – cheque, credit card, vehicle finance, bond and call accounts
  13. A list of debit orders that go off every month, when they go off and how much they usually are
  14. Your current employer details and employee number
  15. A comprehensive list of insurance, pension funds, trusts and investments
  16. Copies of insurance and funeral policies as well as contact information to reach the insurance company
  17. Copies of lease agreements between you and a lessee
  18. Copies of house and car insurance policies
  19. Medical aid and gap cover policies
  20. Copies of updated utility documents
  21. Firearm details
  22. Car ownership documentation
  23. Title deeds of all your properties (if you have a bond over the property, the title deed should be with the bank)
  24. Various documents if you own a business or shares of a company, such as partnership agreements
  25. Letters for desired funeral arrangements

“While extensive, this list is not entirely comprehensive as no two individuals are alike or have the same policies and as such it is important to start the conversation with a financial adviser or legal professional to make sure your personal “ready to depart” file is regularly updated before you pass away,” Botha said.

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