Getting Your Affairs in Order

Creating an Advanced Care Directive, writing a will… hard topics to broach? There is plenty of support to get you started and it’s amazing how many people actually find it’s a relief to talk about things that are super important to them. It can provoke questions and answers that can bring clarity, certainty and a new approach to living.


There are two parts of this article. The first is a practical list of of your important documents. The second is a list of website that can assist you with information gathering, creating  Advanced Care Plans, etc.

Gather all your important documents in a single location where they can be accessed easily.  Email copies or at the very least tell your family and friends where you will keep them. Filing cabinet, top drawer in the bedroom, on top of the fridge. Create a Death Bag!

  1. Personal documents such as birth, marriage, divorce certificates, passport, citizenship, adoption papers, social security card, drivers licence, education or military records.
  2. Financial documents such as bank account, credit cards, mortgages, loans or debts, tax file numbers, investment property details and managing agents,  trust paperwork. (Include account number, contact details etc). Safety deposit box. 
  3. Pensions and retirement funds.
  4. Health documentation – medication, doctors and specialist details. Health care fund, support service information, Medicare. Aged Care number. Medical equipment supplier.
  5. Insurance papers – life, health – medical and dental, house and contents, car – third party and comprehensive.
  6. Business and Work papers. Registrations, automatic payments, creditors, and licences. 
  7. Income source – how much, from whom, account details. Employment information.
  8. Expenses – direct debits – when and how much, account details
  9. Value of Estate – noting anything of value that may be overlooked. 
  10. Write a Will or Living Trust
    1. Will/Testament – this legal document defines how a person’s money, property and other assets are to be distributed in the event of their death, naming the executor(s), to manage the estate. 
    2. Living trust – a living trust makes it so your property can be distributed to heirs bypassing the probate process.
  11. IT information: Accounts and Passwords. Indication of which folders might be of interest/importance—Family history/Financial/IP/stories/Photos etc

Websites to assist with planning

“Whatever our age may be, we all have values and preferences related to health and personal care. It’s important to think about these values and preferences, discuss them and write them down in an Advance Care Directive so that your preferences are understood and respected if you were in a situation where you were unable to communicate them yourself. Advance care planning is particularly important for people who are older and are frail, or people who have a chronic illness, multiple diseases, an early cognitive impairment, or are approaching their end of life. Advance care planning involves: appointing a substitute decision-maker and completing an Advance Care Directive. 

“An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document where you appoint a person of your choice to manage your assets and financial affairs if you are unable to do so due to illness, an accident or your absence.

A medical power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to make decisions about your medical treatment if you become mentally or physically incapable of deciding for yourself.

An anticipatory direction is a legal document that outlines your preferences for medical treatment if one day you cannot decide for yourself. It will only apply if you are in the final stage of a terminal illness or in a persistent vegetative state. It can be used as a stand-alone document or accompany the medical power of attorney or enduring power of guardianship.”