With 2019 now at hand, it’s time to make sure all your legal documents and arrangements are up-to-date and ready for the New Year. Here is Annemarie Swanepoel Attorneys’ quick checklist of things you need to brush-off and revamp to be fully prepared for the year ahead.
1. Is your will up-to-date?
You should get into the habit of checking your will at least once a year- and what better time than now? A will which is out-of-date can be as much of a hindrance to your loved ones and executors as not having a will at all. It’s important to make sure that all provisions made in your will are still relevant. In particular, you need to make sure that the executor, as well as any beneficiaries, are still correct and that their details are up-to-date. This is especially important if you have faced any milestones such a marriage, the birth of a new child, the dissolution of any friendships, the loss of a family member or friend, or divorce in the preceding year. Take the time to make sure any new assets you have acquired (or old ones which have been disposed of) are correctly included, especially property and vehicles.
2. Are your Power of Attorney documents valid and correct?
If you have dependents, young children or are not married but have a long-term partner, it’s important that you have power of attorney documents in place to protect their legal needs. This is not only in the event of your passing but also in case of medical needs or any other emergency situation which may occur. Now might be the time to alter or create a living will, too.
3. Are all trusts, companies and legal entities tax-compliant and valid with new laws?
Laws change and are updated regularly throughout the year. Make sure all of your legal entities, such as companies and trusts, are still compliant with all legislation. Now is a good time to bring your tax-compliance up-to-date too.
4. Are all your documents valid and sorted?
Important documents expire. You don’t want to discover this right as you need them! Take the time to check up on your passports, vehicle road licenses and driver’s license, as well as any professional licenses you hold. It’s also a good time to consider updating your ID to the new card format.
5. Are all your assets correctly managed?
The exact specifics of this will vary depending on your personal circumstances- but now is a good time to audit all your assets and make sure everything is as it should be. Properties may need paperwork submitting (you can also consider attempting to renegotiate your mortgage and other loans if your payment behaviour was impeccable through the past year), or compliance certificates issuing. You may be able to get a better deal on insurance policies you hold, or policies may need revaluing and updating. Consider life insurance, and the policy beneficiaries, particularly. New assets may need to be listed on existing policies, or separately insured. It’s a good idea to check in on any retirement policies and investments you hold too. In general, make an audit of what you own, and make sure everything to do with them is correctly valued, managed and insured.
Are your legal matters fully up-to-date for the New Year? If not, be sure to get in touch with Annemarie Swanepoel Attorneys today, and let us help you make 2019 a successful one.