I recently experienced a family bereavement and as always in such times it caused me to consider a few things. There are things to learn from and things to encourage us to review.
Whilst processing this loss we needed to work out some practical aspects. While my relative had a Will, it was 30 years old and unfortunately out of date to the present reality. In recent months he had written a new statement of intention to be added to his Will. It was written in his hand and signed, but the document had not been witnessed. While this situation isn’t as bad as not having a Will it could have been done better by the deceased making it easier for those left to administer his affairs.
The legal situation was that the hand written document didn’t supersede the earlier written document and it also wasn’t an amendment to the original document. It was effectively of little benefit in achieving the wishes of the deceased.
His original Will left all his assets to his parents who were now deceased. This then starts a legal process, established in law as to what happens next. This process adds costs as lawyers need to establish a whole raft of facts to determine who is now entitled to the assets of the deceased and who is to administer the estate.
The legal process identifies three out of four of the deceased’s siblings are living and that there are no dependent children. With this established, the administration and execution of the deceased’s affairs can commence.
Fortunately in our situation the three surviving siblings are in unity about the way forward in administering the estate and want to take into consideration the hand written document of their brother.
It raises the interesting fact that too many people die without a Will or a current relevant document. So friend how about you? Do you have a Will? Is it relevant for your current state of life and responsibilities? Does it reflect your wishes? Is it created in a way that makes it easy for those who have to administer your estate to do so? Is it filed in a location known to those parties?
Regretfully in this day and age where most deceased persons have assets of value, friction and disputes can arise amongst family members in administering the affairs of a deceased. To make the burden lighter for those we love, we have a responsibility to create an accurate and clear document. It should be our last act in life that brings blessing not frustration and anger.
Our passing should be a celebration of a life well lived, not the creating of a period of time that will cause our loved ones grief and pain.
If you are in a men’s group why not discuss this next week? Do you have a Will? Is it current? Do people know where it is? Are you prepared to share the basic structure of your will with your men’s group?
Finishing Life Well - Getting Practical
Create an asset list of all that you own.
- Name the asset, where it is located, who manages it and access details.
- Give guidance on the distribution of all that you own. Is there is a specific direction that you wish your assets to be distributed? E.g. if you have a collector’s item World Cup jersey that you want to give to your life-time rugby buddy, have you recorded this?
Communicate to others the type of funeral you desire.
- Let them know who should be advised of your death?
- Who should conduct your funeral?
- The content of the funeral service.
- Do you wish to be cremated or buried and where?
If you are old and full of years or in a questionable state of health, deal to your accumulated possessions. Including:
- Things you haven’t accessed for years.
- Paperwork files that you don’t use or aren’t required by law to keep.
- Items of by gone hobbies.
- Your man-shed with projects complete and incomplete. If it’s not being utilised pass it on to someone who will use it.
- As you progress in age and abilities or interests change, eliminate the things of that season.
Make a Will
- You can go online right now and create a Will, sign it and have it witnessed and that is an immediate short term position. Follow that up in the next few days to do a full and complete document with a lawyer.
Have your affairs in order including:
- Payments up to date e.g. bills and taxes.
- Finished with items given away or disposed of.
- Put in place an Enduring Power of Attorney for your personal care and welfare, plus for your property and finance (refer to a solicitor).
- Talk to your family about your death wishes and listen to their advice or concerns.
Funeral insurance is it really right for you?
In recent years there has been heavy advertising of funeral insurance, so we can assume that it is very profitable for insurance companies. Is it really right for you? Think about the true costs and benefits [here]
To read Peter’s Getting Practical article in full, click [here]
Peter Goulter has two ebooks available on the PK website: A helpful guide to Third Age Retirement Planning and his latest inspiring book My Testimony on Surviving Trials.
To read Peter's Third Age Retirement Planning ebook click [here]
Leaving a Legacy of Promise
We all want to have a positive legacy from our earthly life. By naming Promise Keepers Trust in your Will, you can sow into the spiritual health of future generations.
Find out how to do this at https://www.promisekeepers.org.nz/leave-a-legacy/ or phone 0800 PROMISE (77 66 47). Thanks for supporting PK!