Getting your affairs in order

It is important to get your affairs in order, and some of the things to consider are your:

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Financial and legal matters

  • Have you arranged your financial affairs?
  • Do you want someone to make legal or financial decisions for you if you are not able to?
  • Does someone know where to find important papers?
  • Do you have a valid will?
  • If you have life insurance, is the beneficiary information up to date?
  • If you have superannuation, have you nominated a beneficiary? If it is a ‘lapsing’ nomination, you must confirm it in writing every three years, so check when you did this last.


  • Have you prepared letters for family or friends, if you’d like to do so?
  • Who would you like to have around you as you get closer to death? Are there people you don’t want around?
  • Are there unresolved issues that you would like to sort out with particular people?
  • Have you left instructions and passwords for your social media accounts?

Medical care

  • Are there certain treatments that you don’t want to have?
  • Have you discussed your wishes for end-of-life care with your family, carers and health professionals?
  • Have you considered who can make decisions about your end-of-life care if you’re not able to make them yourself?
  • Have you recorded your wishes for future medical care in an advance care directive or appointed a substitute decision-maker?

Spiritual issues

  • Are there any cultural, spiritual or religious practices that you would like carried out before or at the time of your death, or once you have died? Who do you need to ask to make sure this happens?
  • Do you want a minister, priest, rabbi, imam or another spiritual adviser present at the end?
  • Do you want to be buried or cremated? Do you have a burial plot? Would you like your ashes scattered in a particular place?
  • What are your preferences for a memorial service? Have you shared your wishes?

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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