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4 Steps To Getting Your Affairs In Order This Year

  • LIFESTYLE
  • 7 min read

A new year means new resolutions…we know the drill! While we all want to make positive changes in our lives, how frivolous are the changes you’re hoping to make this year? Are they centred around the self, or are they really meaningful and will they better the world around you or help those you love?

Taking this more holistic approach to setting resolutions ensures they have a positive effect on more people, not just yourself. One key way to do this is to take stock of your life, and consider what may happen should you no longer be here. While this isn’t a pleasant thought, it is one we’ve all been forced to consider more during this pandemic.

Getting your affairs in order is one big step to taking charge of your life for the year ahead, and ensuring that if you were no longer alive, those you love would have an easier time dealing with your death. Here are four important things you can do now:

  1. Write or update your will

If you’re over the age of 18, you need a will – even if you don’t think you have many assets to consider. If you don’t specify what will happen to any cash, belongings or other financial assets in your name should you pass away, they could get tied up in administration and red tape, and never end up being left to people you know and care about. It’s also important to update it regularly as your life situation changes, perhaps if another child is born, or if you go through a divorce. You also need to appoint an executor: someone you trust to manage the process of reading the will and ensuring your instructions are followed.

  • The right medical cover

This is particularly applicable if you fall ill and spend time in hospital, and are unable to communicate to healthcare providers the details of your medical aid plan. Carrying a medical aid card on your person is one way of passing on these details if you can’t, but it’s worth ensuring that loved ones have your medical aid details handy too. It’s also important to have the right medical cover for your needs, so that loved ones don’t have to suffer financial difficulties to pay for your healthcare costs. Remember that some medical aids like Fedhealth allow you to upgrade plans in case of a life-changing event or sign up at any time of year.

  • Make a list of assets (financial and other)

Compile a comprehensive list of any financial assets you have (such as life insurance policies or cryptocurrency) plus access and login details where applicable. This is so the people left behind are made aware of the assets you had. These details are highly confidential, so it’s important to keep them stored safely, perhaps in a safety deposit box, with only a few trusted people aware of where the key is. It’s not just financial assets that should be listed; things like family heirlooms or sentimental jewellery should also be included, along with clear instructions on who will inherit them.

  • Your digital footprint

A lesser discussed point is what happens to your digital life once you pass away. In a practical sense, it can be very difficult to delete someone’s Facebook profile for example after they die, unless you know their passwords and other details. This can be a traumatic experience for those left behind, so make sure you have a list of social media passwords and any websites that you manage. Also leave instructions about what you’d like to happen to these after you’re gone – some people may like to keep their loved ones’ profiles active as a place to relive fond memories, while others may want to delete them completely.

Think of these four steps as a way of leaving a positive legacy, a last love letter to your friends and family. And we can think of no better New Year’s resolution than that.

A new year means new resolutions…we know the drill! While we all want to make positive changes in our lives, how frivolous are the changes you’re hoping to make this year? Are they centred around the self, or are they really meaningful and will they better the world around you or help those you love?

Taking this more holistic approach to setting resolutions ensures they have a positive effect on more people, not just yourself. One key way to do this is to take stock of your life, and consider what may happen should you no longer be here. While this isn’t a pleasant thought, it is one we’ve all been forced to consider more during this pandemic.

Getting your affairs in order is one big step to taking charge of your life for the year ahead, and ensuring that if you were no longer alive, those you love would have an easier time dealing with your death. Here are four important things you can do now:

  • Write or update your will

If you’re over the age of 18, you need a will – even if you don’t think you have many assets to consider. If you don’t specify what will happen to any cash, belongings or other financial assets in your name should you pass away, they could get tied up in administration and red tape, and never end up being left to people you know and care about. It’s also important to update it regularly as your life situation changes, perhaps if another child is born, or if you go through a divorce. You also need to appoint an executor: someone you trust to manage the process of reading the will and ensuring your instructions are followed.

  • The right medical cover

This is particularly applicable if you fall ill and spend time in hospital, and are unable to communicate to healthcare providers the details of your medical aid plan. Carrying a medical aid card on your person is one way of passing on these details if you can’t, but it’s worth ensuring that loved ones have your medical aid details handy too. It’s also important to have the right medical cover for your needs, so that loved ones don’t have to suffer financial difficulties to pay for your healthcare costs. Remember that some medical aids like Fedhealth allow you to upgrade plans in case of a life-changing event or sign up at any time of year.

  • Make a list of assets (financial and other)

Compile a comprehensive list of any financial assets you have (such as life insurance policies or cryptocurrency) plus access and login details where applicable. This is so the people left behind are made aware of the assets you had. These details are highly confidential, so it’s important to keep them stored safely, perhaps in a safety deposit box, with only a few trusted people aware of where the key is. It’s not just financial assets that should be listed; things like family heirlooms or sentimental jewellery should also be included, along with clear instructions on who will inherit them.

  • Your digital footprint

A lesser discussed point is what happens to your digital life once you pass away. In a practical sense, it can be very difficult to delete someone’s Facebook profile for example after they die, unless you know their passwords and other details. This can be a traumatic experience for those left behind, so make sure you have a list of social media passwords and any websites that you manage. Also leave instructions about what you’d like to happen to these after you’re gone – some people may like to keep their loved ones’ profiles active as a place to relive fond memories, while others may want to delete them completely.

Think of these four steps as a way of leaving a positive legacy, a last love letter to your friends and family. And we can think of no better New Year’s resolution than that.