When my siblings and I were minors, our parents kept giving importance to certain files and boxes that we were to consult first, should anything ever happen to them. They would, for instance, mention how they could get into a car crash while driving back home from work or wherever — that is life. “These things happen,” they would say.
“With over 50 000 South Africans dying of Covid-19-related illnesses in the past year, the pandemic has forced us to face our own vulnerability and take stock of our lives,” says Mark Hawes, certified financial planner and financial consultant at Alexander Forbes.
Preparedness for life events such as death is key. While a will specifies one’s wishes in the event of their death, a ready-to-depart file contains all important documents besides the will. A “ready-to-depart” file contains all the necessary documents and information needed in the event of your passing that will assist your family.
A ready-to-depart file or files (in certain instances) contains important information and documents pertaining to a person’s assets and liabilities, such as their last will and testament as well as other financial and personal interests, such as details on assets, home loans, rental agreements, and banking passwords, explains Christel Botha, fiduciary services manager at Alexander Forbes.
In the absence of such a file, the next of kin won’t know who to contact to find out whether the deceased had funeral cover, or who to report the estate to. If you own rental properties, your loved one might not know how to collect the rent, what the agreement states, or even who the tenant is.
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