What to put in your ‘When I am Dead’ Folder
Whilst, thinking of your own death can be unsettling, preparing well for when the time comes is a loving thing to do for your family and friends. It is also essential to ensure that the assets you have worked hard to accumulate throughout your lifetime are brought to the attention of your Executor and/or your Family, so they can be distributed to your nominated beneficiaries.
Our experience has shown that putting together a “When I’m Dead” Folder is a valuable exercise. The aim is for your Executor and/or Family to know precisely what assets you have, where they are kept and how to access them. This prevents future headaches or delays, saving your Executor time, money and stress.
A physical folder is ideal, as it saves your Executor from having to access your computer or phone. As the folder contains sensitive information, it must be kept in a safe place known to only one or two trustworthy people. Here are some tips on what to include:
The documents that are of most significance are:
a) your original Will,
b) your Enduring Powers of Attorney, and
c) original Certificate of Title (if you own property).
These documents are usually held with the Lawyer who drafted them or who transferred property. Your folder should contain the contact details of your Lawyer as well as a precise list of the documents held. If there is a mortgage on your property (or if the mortgage was paid out but not discharged) the Certificate of Title may be held with your bank. In that case, contact details for your bank are required.
Financial Planner and Accountant
Often your financial planner or accountant will have assisted with the accumulation of your assets and with superannuation funds or investment portfolios. It is essential for your Executor to have the contact details for these advisors and also a list of the products they have managed on your behalf, in your “When I am Dead” Folder.
Details of your bank accounts are essential, particularly if you have multiple accounts with multiple banks or accounts which are not with one of the major banks. Account balances are not necessary as these will fluctuate throughout your lifetime, however, account-holder names, BSB, account numbers, passwords and“online” access details are important pieces of information to have in theFolder.
Shares can be difficult to administer if it is not known how they are held and who manages them. Making this information available to your Executor will make his or her task easier. If you can, provide original share certificates and dividend statements as well as information on who manages your portfolio to your Executor.
The fund name, account name and number and a contact name are essential for a basic superannuation account. For a Self-Managed Super Funds (“SMSF”) details such as, who the members are, who the trustee is and who manages the fund and what assets are owned by the Fund are important to include.
We have all been told to keep our passwords secret at all times. However, once you are not available, your phone, laptop, bank accounts and other devices need to be accessed. We suggest you prepare a document which contains the login details to your phone, computer and organisations such as Banks, Medicare, Super, MyGov, the ATO and any other relevant institutions.
Your Executor is in charge of arranging your funeral. This will be a time for your family and friends to commemorate your life. Specifying the place, style and content of the service, the choice of music and other details, and the place where you would like to be laid to rest, can be of immense help to your Executor. The service will then be a better reflection of you, as you have contributed to the planning.
If you require any assistance with preparing your “When I am Dead” Folder please telephone our Wills and Estates Team on 9870 9870. We also have booklets for sharing this information which we can provide at no cost.