preparing for the worst - making life easier for your loved ones if you become critically ill or die


  • none of us want to come to the realisation of our own mortality, but avoiding the issue may only make our suffering more prolonged and make it harder for our loved ones to manage

What you should do NOW even if you are well

  • make sure your partner has their own bank account with sufficient cash
    • understand that when you die your bank accounts and assets will be FROZEN for at least 6 months until probate is finalized
    • your partner or Executor of your Will may need to continue to pay their usual bills as well as your estate bills such as solicitor fees, funeral expenses, etc.
      • this is why some people purchase a funeral bond which will at least cover the funeral expenses (hopefully), although someone may still need to pay the 50% deposit.
    • joint bank accounts will generally not be frozen as these along with any property owned as joint tenants will pass to the survivor via 'passing by survivorship' (joint loan accounts may not be managed in this way - check with the bank)
  • make sure your superannuation has a beneficiary documented
    • your superannuation assets do not form part of your estate and cannot be managed in a Will and these should be managed by having a beneficiary documented in the policy.
  • make sure you have a valid WILL
    • dying intestate without a will is extremely problematic for your loved ones
    • Victorian law for intestacy1):
      • if you die without a Will or your Will is not valid, then an application for a Grant of Letters of Administration will need to be made to the Supreme Court.
      • in most instances the grant is made to the next of kin of the deceased. For example, the spouse, domestic partner or a child of the deceased.
      • you need to have lived in a domestic or de facto relationship for two years (two people are not married but live together or have lived together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis), or have a child together, or have formally registered your relationship before your partner can benefit from your estate if you die without a Will.
      • if there was no partner, nor children then all the estate goes first to2):
        • parents
        • then siblings
        • then grandparents
        • then uncles and aunts
        • then cousins.
    • Any person who can show that the deceased had a ‘moral duty’ to provide for them can challenge a Will or Letters of Administration by starting a Supreme Court process called ‘testator’s family maintenance’ which must be made within six months of the grant of probate or letters of administration being made.
      • such claims are usually limited to spouse, domestic partner, parents, children, step-children, registered carers or members of the household.
  • make sure you have an Advanced Care Directive and allocate a Medical Treatment Decision Maker
  • make sure you have an Enduring Power of Attorney
    • these may allow a designated person whom you trust to look after your financial management while you do not have capacity
    • these powers cease when you die and the powers are then transferred to the Executor of your estate
    • in Victoria:
  • organ donation preference
    • it is useful to have these documented if you wish to donate your organs
  • consider life insurance policy
    • this is especially important if your death will leave your partner or family exposed to substantive debts they cannot service and which are normally serviced by your income
  • consider disability insurance
    • this is especially important if your inability to work will leave you, your partner or family exposed to substantive debts that cannot be serviced and which are normally serviced by your income
  • ensure your affairs are in order
    • document all your important details to make life easier such as:
      • your solicitor who has the Will
      • your tax agent
      • your GP details
      • other important contacts your family may need to contact (eg. to cancel appointments, friends, family, etc)
      • your bank account details and investment details
      • your ongoing bill details eg. electricity, gas, water, council rates, mobile phone, NBN, etc.
      • your internet presence details if you wish them to be managed
      • location of your important family documents, photos and heirlooms
death_prepare.txt · Last modified: 2020/04/03 22:57 by gary1