Get your affairs in order

Dec 11, 2017

Get your affairs in order so that you can leave behind a legacy – not a nightmare.

It’s not a pleasant or popular topic to dwell on, but the reality is that, at some point in time, we all have to make practical and clear-cut plans and provisions concerning death or disability.

Ensuring that your affairs are in order not only gives you the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing that your final wishes will be honoured, it also makes tying up your affairs much easier to negotiate for the people you leave behind – personally and professionally.

Some years ago, I assisted with a complex and ongoing death, disability and rescue mission, and the lessons I learnt from this industry case are that life is truly unpredictable and that by ensuring you have the right arrangements in place, you can leave behind a legacy – not a nightmare.

Make life easier for those you leave behind

To make things simpler for those you leave behind ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have an updated Last Will and Testament and does it cater to my wishes if I’m left incapacitated, or to the succession of my business?
  • Do I have an ICE File (In Case of Emergency File) outlining all critical information in the event of an unforeseen crisis, in both hardcopy and electronic format, that’s easily accessible to a responsible party?
  • Are all of my finances and taxes in order and is there enough accessible cash available for a responsible party to make decisions on my behalf if need be?

If the practitioner, whose case I mentioned earlier, had asked himself these same questions and set things in place, his family and staff would have been spared much additional anxiety and uncertainty – but, in his case, the answer to all of these questions was ‘no’.

Consider the stress and chaos that ensues and impacts on everyone left behind when a solution has to be found to save a business left without legal specifications or guidelines. Imagine your loyal staff suddenly insecure about their jobs and unable to serve your customers; your spouse requesting a little cash from your office to settle resulting expenses; or a sudden VAT query arriving with no one in the office knowing anything about it.

And then, as time passes imagine the landlord sending notice of overdue rent; your electricity getting cut off; suppliers not delivering orders as they’re not being paid and, to top things off, your bank account has been frozen!

While this may all seem very dramatic, each of these scenarios actually happened – they are not hypothetical.

Be prepared and avoid unpleasant scenarios

To avoid these unpleasant scenarios, here are a few handy ICE File tips:

  • Draw up a will and living will and include certified copies of ID documents, marriage and birth certificates, divorce agreements and consent papers.
  • Supply all medical insurance details with all important information and list all of your dependents’ full names – along with their ID numbers and contact details.
  • List and describe all of your assets including your business, house, car, investments and all related legal documents like title deeds to the house, registration papers for the car, share certificates and life, property, short-term insurance and RA policy documents.
  • List all of your bank account details along with your current financial information with clear instructions about how to legally access your passwords and tax return and assessments information.
  • Include current Proof of Residence documents like rates and telephone bills – in line with FICA requirements.
  • List the names and contact details of your executor, attorney, accountant and bank manager.
  • Name the people you wish to succeed your business management or other leadership roles you may hold.
  • Draft a letter of wishes relating to decisions you would like made in the event of your death.
  • Finally, give copies of this file to the appropriate people to keep somewhere safe but accessible.

Get your affairs in order and ensure the ongoing success of your practice today

If you’re in need of personalised and professional advice on how to get your affairs in order and run your practice more efficiently – in line with current industry trends and legislative guidelines – get in touch with Vizibiliti Management Services today.
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“There are many different factors that determine the success of your practice – but, as a busy healthcare professional focusing on the needs of your patients, you may not always have the time to focus on the many demanding, and often complex, facets of managing your business. Vizibiliti provides you with easy access to insightful, comprehensive practice and business management solutions and advice across all stages of your business journey – from establishing, growing or closing your practice.”

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