5 Surprising Things You Should Have In Your “when I die” Folder — Lionesses of Africa

by Claire Keet & Sinal Govender 

Having your legal life stuff organised and safely stored is more than being on top of your admin for “just in case”. It’s an empowered way of living your best life, knowing that if things go south for you, your loved ones won’t be left behind with an administrative nightmare on their hands. Things like your will, living will, insurance policies and a copy of your ID are the more obvious things to include in a life.file of all your important documents. A thorough life.file should have a few other things you may not have thought of…

1. Your pet information

Have you thought about what would happen to your fur babies if things went belly up for you? Is there someone specific you’d like to look after your pets one day? You might want to include this wish in your will. Your life.file is the place to store your pet’s most important information and documentation. Some of the documents to include are their breeding documents, rabies certificates, veterinarian records, any specific medical or dietary details and their vet’s contact information. Pet paperwork is a thing!

2. Cryptocurrency investment information

Many crypto investments are done through “do it yourself” digital investment platforms. This shift has put the power of investment into the hands of everyday people. Gone are the days when someone’s financial advisor would know about all of their investments and be able to advise bereaved loved ones about where their recently departed had money tied up. Consider kicking the bucket with a few hefty crypto investments existing somewhere on the interweb that no one knows about nor can access. Your life.file should include details about these investments – both for a tax and estate planning point of view but also so that your loved ones can benefit from your savvy one day, if you want them to. While it’s obviously your prerogative if and to whom your investments go one day, it is not going to fly with the Master of the High Court one day when your estate tax isn’t squared off. 

3. Domestic worker information

If your boss kicked the bucket, you’d expect, in the first instance, to be contacted with the news. If their passing had implications for your employment, you’d quickly need answers to questions like: do I show up for work next week? Has my employer been contributing to an unemployment insurance fund? What’s my UIF number? Can I still get paid any money owed to me? If that’s what you’d expect, then you should be extending the same courtesy to the people you employ, including your domestic worker. (A domestic worker is someone who works in your home, like a child minder, cleaner, gardener or cook). If you employ someone for more than 24 hours per month, then you’re an employer and have a legal responsibility to employ that person properly. Amongst other things, that means having a fair contract in place. At a minimum, your life.file should have your employee’s work contract, their UIF number and contact information. If something happens to you, their details should be at the fingertips of the people you’ve left behind who need to “close off” your life and carry out your final employer responsibilities for you.

4. Your end of life wishes

A well organised life.file should really have a section that answers the questions your loved ones will need to answer one day when you’re popping daisies. Your end of life wishes should include things like how you’d like to be celebrated, what type of “goodbye” ceremony you’d like, whether you’d like your farewell to be rooted in a particular religion, what you’d like to happen to your body. It might sound morbid, but really, it’s an amazingly helpful gift to leave behind for your loved ones. If anything, it’ll reduce decision fatigue around how to bid you farewell. You would also include things like a funeral policy and organ donor card in this section of your life.file.

5. Your children’s information

Like adults, children also have paper trails full of all sorts of important life documents. Especially if you have minor kiddies, it’s really important to think about having their documents easily accessible for “just in case”. In a worst case scenario, your spouse or kids’ guardian should have a neat life.file of things like birthday certificates, school reports, immunization cards, ID documents and medical records. You might want to also include things in this section of your life.file that would just make life easier for your spouse or a guardian. For example: who your kid’s teacher is, information about their extra curricular activities, what food allergies they have.

Kicking the bucket without your legal life affairs in order causes immense stress for your loved ones. Let’s be honest, it won’t be your problem, but the more thorough your life.file is, the better for everyone you leave behind.

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