seniorparentsQ: I recently updated my Will and other important legal documents. However it made me realise my financial affairs are complicated, and as my Power of Attorney, or Executors of my estate, my children may struggle to understand my whole situation. What can I do to make it easier for them?

A: This is a common question asked by our clients when completing their plan to pass on their legacy to their children.  There are some practical things that you can consider, which will certainly assist them with regards to your important information.

  • One safe place – Keep all of your important document in one place and ensure you have an electronic copy of it on a thumb (USB) drive or in a secured online storage file e.g. DropBox.  Whether you choose a filing cabinet, shoebox or fire proof safe, it is imperative that your children and executor know where the documents are held and how to access them
  • Financial affairs – Complete an assets and liabilities register which will allow your children and/or executor to understand your entire financial situation very quickly. You can also include key information such as the details of your bank accounts (including institution you bank with and account numbers) or location of title deeds for your home
  • Professional Advisers – Providing a list and contact details of your professional advisers will allow your children and/or executor the opportunity to seek advice and assistance from your trusted advisers
  • Online identity and passwords – This is an area most people forget about and the increased use of online services makes it very important to collate these in one place. You can include details about the online accounts you use and access from Government services to Facebook. Having these readily available would make it easier for your children and/or executor. Just remember, in the unfortunate event that you have an accident which renders you unable to communicate, your children may not even be able to even access your mobile phone which contains all of your contacts and important information
  • Day to day affairs – Provide a detailed list of your service providers (such as Electricity company), medical practitioners (such as doctors) and other important people. These are important details often overlooked if you are currently well and your children have little day to day involvement in your life for basic tasks.

Before embarking on this process, it is an excellent opportunity to undertake a review of all of your documentation. Over the years you can accumulate a great deal of information including bills and certificates, some of which will be irrelevant. If you find it difficult or daunting to sort through this information, then consider your children who might have to step in one day and make sense of it all.

Next Steps

The ultimate aim is to ensure your children and/or executor can easily find and understand your current affairs when required. The process and documents we use with our clients have proven to be successful. For many of our clients, this gives them further peace of mind that their affairs in order and that they have helped their children in what will be a difficult time.