Would you have thought, a year ago, that you would see Uber adverts thanking us for not riding?
When we planned for 2020, who knew we would be home-cocooned for months, awaiting government announcements to allow us back to offices and schools, in masks, with sanitised hands.
The COVID pandemic has brought our own mortality home to us. Global confirmed deaths number at over 1.7 million, and a second wave of infections is sweeping much of Europe. In South Africa, we have seen 700,203 total cases, with 18,370 deaths, at the time of writing this article.
The unexpected loss of a relative made me reflect on my provision for my daughter, were I no longer around? Would those to whom I have entrusted her care have the financial resources to raise her well? These are not easy questions, but essential to create a more certain future for our family.
Here are three considerations to ensure we bequeath our loved ones peace of mind.
1. Have a valid Will in place
Do you have a Will? Does it still reflect your wishes? Circumstances may have changed: new assets, a guardian for your minor children, a different executor, so update it regularly.
Is your Will dated, signed accordingly, and witnessed by two competent witnesses? Is it safely stored, but easily accessible to your Executor?
2. What is ‘sufficient’ provision in the event of your death?
Many people think that because they have life cover, and various policies and investments, that this will be sufficient provision for the dependents and loved ones. They tend to forget that there are taxes payable upon death and executor fees, etc.
Fortunately, financial advisors are able to help you determine whether you have made sufficient provision for loved ones and recommend suitable action to be taken should this not be the case.
Investment products provide for how investment proceeds are payable on death. Some allow for the nomination of beneficiaries to receive death benefits directly from the investment company. Regular review of beneficiary nominations is vital. Bear in mind how beneficiaries may use their inheritance when you make direct beneficiary nominations on investments and nominate beneficiaries in a Will.
Some investments do not cater for the nomination of beneficiaries and pay out the investment proceeds to the estate on death. So, make provision in your Will for inclusion of these assets in the estate.
Our Independent Executor and Trust team and private wealth managers are well equipped to provide advice on the vehicles for estate planning purposes. Our private wealth managers also provide more information on investments you hold and how they are dealt with on death.
3. “Should I die” folder
Do your loved ones know where your important documents, like ID and Will, are? And records of retail accounts, banking details, memberships? Your Netflix, computer and social media passwords?
The value of a “Should I die” folder cannot be underestimated for grieving loved ones who are making practical arrangements, such as your funeral. Do your loved ones know if you have a funeral policy and have contact details?
Open the conversation
We tend to avoid talking to our families about money and death – to protect them or avoid conflict. But we can help prepare them by having honest and practical conversations.
Being proactive helps you and your family weather uncertain and challenging times.