Image by Gene1970, Pixabay
We should all be preparing for death, it’s inevitable, it’s natural and it’s extremely difficult for those left behind, but if you prepare for it well, it will make things that bit easier for those left behind. So I urge everyone to prepare to die, this blog is how I have prepared to die.
I have recently had my Will drawn up at the ripe old age of 52. It has been on my ‘To Do’ list for a number of years. Finally, it is done, I feel organised and relieved too. I guess the whole idea of leaving a Will, is not only so your wishes are followed once you die, but also to make life a little bit easier for those who have to deal with your ‘stuff’ after you’ve gone.
For me, preparing to die is not morbid, it is the sensible thing to do. Not only have I had my Will drawn up by a Solicitor, I have also produced a ‘To Do’ list for my nominated Executor. This is a simple guide complete with check boxes for actions the Executor needs to take. Adding to that, I have put a copy of my Will, Executor To Do List, Cash Envelopes (for other expenses, which I will explain further down), letters to members of my family, and important documents such as insurances etc. that the Executor will need. These are all in a Fire proof / Water resistant document bag. The Executor has been informed where this document bag is.
In my preparation document I took to my initial meeting with the Solicitor, included; my personal details, name, address, date of birth, contact details, Executor name, contact details, beneficiaries including names, addresses, list of assets and who the beneficiaries are and their relationship to me, list of my bank accounts, pensions, life insurances, funeral plan and the beneficiaries of each. I also included my debts and mortgage details as these would have to be paid out of my estate, before anyone else benefits.
As mentioned, prior to my appointment with the Solicitor, I wrote the preparation document. Most of the questions the Solicitor asked me where already written in this document, so it made things a hell of a lot easier, especially for the Solicitor. They have kept a copy of this ‘prep’ document with the original Will, as a kind of supplement to the Will, it is not legally binding, but useful if there are any queries after my death.
I have a fire proof / water resistant document bag with my Will, and other important documents. This document bag contains information such as bank details, so they can close down and transfer money to my estate, names, phone numbers and addresses of others the Executor will need to contact, e.g. my employer, utility companies, banks, etc.
There is a separate list of ongoing payments, which include; utility bills, subscriptions such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, TV Licence, Phones /internet, charity, insurances, lotteries, mortgage etc. which would all need to be cancelled. The details include how they are paid, e.g. direct debit or standing order, the due date and which bank the payments come from. This document will make it easier for the Executor to cancel payments with the bank
Executor ‘To Do’ List
An Executor has a lot of things to sort out and takes on a lot of responsibility. I spoke to my prospective Executor/s (I have a back up Executor) to make sure they understood the implications of being an Executor. In order to make things easier for them, I have drafted a step-by-step do do list with check boxes, with all the details they need in order to carry out their duties as an Executor. See Executor To Do List template here. This list includes the location of important documents including the Solicitor details where the original Will is held. You will see from the attached template, there are three columns; Action, Comments, and completed column to check off once complete.
Letters to Family members
In the letters to my nephews, I have given some ‘life advice’, they may or may not use it, but it’s there for them. This life advice includes advice on finances, debts, creating passive incomes, love, self-awareness, motivation and goals. Just things I have learned late on in my life that I wish I knew when I was younger. I have even done a list of recommended books for them.
Some of them are in debt, they live for today and don’t plan ahead. I have tried to advise them verbally, but I don’t seem to be getting through, so thought if I leave this advice in writing to them, it may make them think a little deeper, and it’s something they can refer back to, hopefully!
I have a funeral plan of £4000 to cover funeral costs. This is not linked to a particular funeral director, it is just money my family will be able to claim to cover funeral costs.
I have put some wishes for my funeral in my Will, but these are only to use an eco-friendly coffin and family flowers only with a suggestion that others donate to a charity of their choice.
I have life insurance that covers my mortgage when I die, this amount reduces each year as my mortgage does. However, should I have paid more or even all of my mortgage off within the term of the mortgage, my family will still receive a payout in line with yearly reductions.
The Executor would have to pay whatever is left of the mortgage, if I pay the mortgage early or make additional payments, then my family get to keep this payout for themselves.
Extra Costs: Cash Envelopes
There are some costs in the UK that the Executor would need to pay out before my estate is released, this includes official copies of death certificates that organisations, particularly insurance companies will want to see, current prices per copy in the UK is £11, so I will leave at least £55 for a minimum of 5 copies (the minimum amount recommended by my Solicitor).
The Executor also has to apply for ‘Grant of Probate’ to be able to distribute my estate. Current UK cost for this is £215, so I will be leaving cash for this too. I am just adding money in monthly to build this up (because I don’t plan on dying anytime soon).
Swedish Death Clean
I do constantly declutter, but the Swedish Death Clean is a concept of the ultimate declutter, to get your home decluttered as much as possible, so that your family doesn’t have the added burden of spending weeks or months, sorting through your crap after you die.
I am encouraging my family to get their affairs in order too, but sometimes they seem enthusiastic and committed to doing, but they haven’t actually taken any steps towards it. Now, I completely understand this, I was the same for years, it is just one of those things you don’t want to think about, but I am glad I took action and got my affairs in order.
My Mum and Dad are taking my advice on board, they are in the process of completing their Will preparation document, once complete I will make an appointment for them to see the Solicitor, I am also going to pay for it, as it is quite expensive for a joint will (£390).
So there it is, how I have ‘prepared to die’! and why you too should ‘prepare to die’ for the sake of your loved ones.