Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

The ‘after-bucket bucket list’:

It's probably not something we give much thought to, but it helps our loved ones if we've taken steps to plan for when we're not here.
By Motherpedia
Date: August 28 2013
Tags: life,
Editor Rating:
dophins

We all have bucket lists.

  • Swim with dolphins
  • Paris in the Spring
  • Attend an opening night on Broadway
  • Visit Victoria Falls
  • See the Grand Canyon
  • Visit the Pyramids
  • Go to a World Cup
  • See Michelangelo’s David
  • Travel the Amazon
  • Sail the Whitsundays
  • not to mention having a happy relationship and happy and healthy children ... 

Each of our personal lists go on and on. But have you ever given any thought to the ‘after-bucket bucket list’?

Unless you have, sadly, had someone close to you pass away, chances are you haven’t; but planning for when you’re not here, and making sure you’re debt-free, can make a huge difference to your loved ones.

Thankfully, the dedicated experts at LifeInsuranceFinder.com.au have come up with a pre-emptive way to avoid debt after death and tidy up your life online. Here are there top tips for the after-bucket bucket list.

1.  Your funeral

This cost is obvious. There are lots of options for preparing for the event in advance, from prepaid funerals, funeral bonds and funeral insurance. A basic cremation will cost you upwards of $4,000, while a more elaborate casket, burial and flowers will be around $14,000. There are plenty of variables to change the cost equation, such as a funeral directors service fee, transportation, cemetery plot, celebrant or clergy, flowers, obituary, a headstone and, afterwards, a wake.

If you can, let those closest to you know your wishes. It saves them trying to guess what you’d like when they’re grieving; and it can also save arguments.

2.  Your will

It’s estimated about half of us leave this world without a valid will, which is surprising considering it can be inexpensive to get one made. There are DIY kits from retailers for less than $100, but you could be wasting time and money if it is not done correctly and later deemed invalid during probate. You can use State-based public trustees, which do not charge for creating a will, but do charge to be your executor. A suburban solicitor may charge from $350 for drawing up a simple will. It will cost more if it is not straightforward, or if you engage a larger legal practice.

3.  Your executor

If you value your beneficiaries, you’ll place high value on the executor of your will. While this person can be a private trustee or a solicitor it is generally a good idea if it’s someone you know well and trust. Even if the executor is a beneficiary, it’s a good idea to remunerate them for their time, especially if they are required to take time off work to close your business, sell property, or deal with bad debts. They may even have to defend your will.

Professional rates vary as does the work involved in sorting out an individual's estate. A contingency fund of $10,000 to $15,000 is deemed prudent. State-based public trustees offer a sliding fee scale - for example in NSW it starts at 4.4% for modest estates, to 1.1% for amounts greater than $300,000, with a minimum charge of $200. Not all States and Territories operate this way - it is best to check. Laws covering deceased estates are well established.

4.  Defending your will

In the absence of a will, your assets may get eaten up in a lawyers’ picnic if probate is contested. Getting the right professional advice could save your estate big time if it prevents your will from being contested – which could cost tens of thousands to defend.

5.  Your online assets

Our online identity might be the last thing we think about, but did you know three Facebook account users die every minute? Identify your digital assets – devices and stored data such as photos, videos, music, texts, diaries/blogs, social media accounts, email, licences, file-sharing accounts, financial management accounts, domain registrations, websites and online businesses. You can leave your passwords with your executor, a trusted person or engage a digital estate planner, which may cost you a couple of hundred dollars.

6.  Your power of attorney

Privacy laws make it difficult or impossible for a third party to act on a person's behalf if they do not have a power of attorney. This could be a trusted person you appoint, or your solicitor or a State-based public trustee, each of which have varying rates. Having a power of attorney makes it easier for someone else to pay outstanding medical bills, cancel direct debits, subscriptions and memberships, close bank accounts, phone accounts, utility services, or insurance policies.

7.  Your final tax return

This is where life’s only two certainties – death and taxes – come together. Make sure your taxes are as up to date as possible, and that your power of attorney or executor will organise your tax return for your final year.

8.  Your personal items

Cleaning up household items after you have gone is emotional for those left to do it. A skip bin can cost anywhere from $200 to $800 (if you are a serious hoarder). If your loved ones are equally dedicated hoarders as you, there is storage to consider, but this is something for them to worry about. If you have items of financial or sentimental value which you do not include specifically in your will, you may want to leave a list of who gets what in a drawer somewhere, with a date on it; or, as some do, put a small name tag with each item. 

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