The happiest retirees have their affairs in order

What price peace of mind?

Its unpleasant to discuss but the older you are, the greater the chances you may suffer an illness or perhaps an injury. And to put it bluntly, there is nothing more certain in life than our eventual death.

When either of those things happen, someone will need to make some decisions on your behalf.

You could, should you not care about the people that are left behind, do nothing about this. Leave it to chance and let the Public Trustee take control to make some important decisions, leaving your Family to argue and thank you about the mess you have left behind.

Preferably however, if those people left behind are people you love and care about, you should get your financial affairs in order.

This means getting some advice regarding some key legal documents, and a little bit of organising and communicating with your family.

The key documents you should seek advice from a Solicitor about are Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Advance Care Directives (or their equivalent in other States).

Your Will ensures that on your death your estate is distributed according to your wishes. Your Solicitor will ask who you would like to be your Executor, the person who you trust to ensure your wishes are followed.

Similarly, a Power of Attorney ensures someone you trust can make important decisions on your behalf should you not be able to because you are not well or have had an accident.

Advance Care Directives allow you to be clear on the type of medical intervention and treatment you prefer should you not be able to communicate those decisions at the time you need medical help.

Your choice of Executor and Attorney are key decisions you need to make. Someone you trust that will help those that you love to fulfill your wishes.

Organising your important personal records and communicating where they are to your Executor and next of kin will greatly assist. Records such as Wills, Birth and Marriage Certificates, insurance policies and other financial arrangements.

Ask your Financial Planner to help you with this, as well as co-ordinating with your Solicitor and Accountant decisions aimed to minimise Estate taxation and maximise simplicity. This may include amongst other things, nominating beneficiaries on your super funds and insurance policies, bequests, the value of Testamentary Trusts to name a few.

Getting advice, preparing legal documentation, and organising your affairs at a time when you are fit, healthy and able means you have made them from a position of strength.

This will give you the peace of mind knowing that you have made it as easy as possible for the people you love to fulfill your wishes.

What price peace of mind? The happiest retirees have their affairs in order. Plan to retire smiling.