Getting your affairs in order



Putting our affairs in order is often put off until later. But it can help our families a lot to get our affairs in order ready for whenever we pass on. Families tend to be upset at such times and it can ease their burden if we’ve laid out a clear picture of our affairs. It also helps considerably if we’ve cleared excessive items from our home. Have a bit of a check. If you left now, could your family easily work out everything needed?


1. Paperwork. Make sure all your paperwork is in order - clear, logical, easily understood and with clear headings. It can be helpful to have it all typed unless your writing is very easy to read.

2. Create a folder to be stored where family members can easily find it. It can also contain your Last Will and Testament duly witnessed, including mention of any special items you’d like particular family members or friends to have

3. Enduring Power of Attorney. This gives the person you specify full power to act for you in medical and financial matters if you became incapable of acting for yourself. This POA can be arranged cheaply through a solicitor. Check with several solicitors as their costs vary considerably, but it’s not expensive. Note: Power of Attorney ceases upon death.

4. Paying the bills. Arrange to have Internet Banking.  This is useful for you anyway. But family can pay outstanding bills they need to pay before the sale of the home. Plus they can move money straight from your account into theirs. Make a note of your user name and passwords and include full details of all your bank, building society and credit union accounts and Pay pal.

5. Selling your home. List the value of your home and mention its good selling points and any new items bought that would remain with the property (such as HW boiler). Make a note of repairs you know will be needed before resale or renting. Note good real estate agents in your area. There is also the possibility to sell without using an agent. There may be Capital Gains Tax to be paid if your home was built after 1984.

6. Burial or cremation. State your preferences re cremation or burial; info re possible donation of organs; whether you’re happy for your ashes to be scattered at a favourite place or you want a full service (think about whether you will care about the ‘ceremony’ once you are gone!).

7. Clear out stuff. Get your filing cabinet in order or arrange good filing system. Sort through all photos, old papers, books, music, and china and get rid of excess. Maybe ask family what sort of things they may want to keep. Get your address book up to date; make a full list of all contacts with their email addresses.

8. Passwords. Make a list of passwords to everything you’ve joined on the internet. Check through everything in your records including Pay pal, social sites as eBay, Face book, iTunes, technical or health forums, your own website if you have one, email details in case your family want to deregister or continue if needed. List your Membership number and details of organizations such as the Tax office, Centrelink, Qantas/other airlines Frequent flyer, Fly buys and loyalty cards.

9. A farewell message. Write a goodbye message you would like your friends to receive about your passing. Make a list of their email addresses. Also make a list of people who do not have email addresses - and address the envelopes to post to them. Put the message and list of email addresses on a Memory stick so that the email addresses can just be copied and pasted straight into an email to send out. Write out personal messages to be given to siblings, friends, parents or children.

10. Music for your send off.  Create a CD of favourite music to play for your send off -or make a list of known music they can easily find

11. Notice to all services. Make a comprehensive list of all the Services you are connected to with their addresses and contact details so they can be notified about your departure. Internet provider; antivirus paid protection; club memberships; water rates, charity subscriptions; direct debits; Centrelink details if applicable; Medicare; doctor; physiotherapist; healer; masseuse; website host; solicitor, passport details; Premium bonds or shares; life or other insurance policies, details of any outstanding legal matters, electricity and gas supplier; council rates; mortgage; Body corporate; car insurance company; NRMA/RACQ; roadside assist; telephone; supermarket delivery membership; clothing catalogues; mobile/cell phone; magazine subscriptions; your car make, model, year, registration/tax date due; current market value of car and any new work done. List, where relevant, all membership numbers, user names and passwords of the above, including your website if you have one, your email and service provider log in details - and exactly what actions need to be taken in each case.

12. Computer Memory stick.  Put all the above information on a Memory stick. Then also back it up on an external hard drive. For security reasons, it’s not a good idea to store all these personal details of passwords and bank details on your actual computer.

As you can see, there’s often much more in our life than we realise. Keep the paperwork updated every few months. Add details needed of anything that pertains specifically to your life.

It’s a lot easier for us to leave a clear picture of what needs to be done after we’re gone, than it will be for our families to try and figure it all out.



Sandy  Stevenson