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‘Imagine, you are sitting at a table, surrounded by strange faces, people you have never seen before in your life… papers being placed in front of you, information being explained to you, voices echoing over and over in your head…
You are in shock, you have no time to feel, to think, to absorb because you have just lost your partner…  Your life has just turned upside down …’

Losing your Partner and the emotions that follow can be devastating.

Living these emotions while continuing to manage your family’s day to day commitments can be overwhelming.  At the same time, being immersed into an unfamiliar world of finances and estate matters can be daunting in itself – particularly when these matters were always managed by your partner.

To navigate the challenges when you take on financial responsibility for your family, we have compiled three essential checklists to help you during this time.

Managing your family finances and assets after the loss of your partner.

A recent study found that 90% of women will be wholly responsible for their finances at some point in their lives. When you become responsible for your family’s finances, it’s important to have someone you can trust to help you understand and manage your financial situation.

  1. Your family finances  

Our checklist for managing your immediate financial priorities:

  • Identify all immediate expenses such as utility costs, school fees etc
  • Contact your bank to ensure you have cash available and access to all accounts
  • Establish authority and get access to your personal online banking
  • Identify and confirm current insurance policies in place, such as life insurance, disability insurance, home & contents and car insurance to give you peace of mind
  • Confirm your current debt levels and commitments
  • Establish an annual family cashflow and budget
  • Confirm your bookkeeping, accounting or reporting needs
  1. Your family assets 

Understanding your family assets can be a complicated task- we have created a checklist for you to work through to simplify this task:

  • Confirm and or establish your family’s financial position
  • Confirm how your assets are structured, whether they’re owned personally, in trusts or companies and what that means to you
  • Review the current structure of your assets, taking into account the various tax consequences on the sale or transfer of assets
  • Confirm your tax lodgement (compliance) requirements, and understand what you need to lodge with the Australian Tax Office
  • Confirm your superannuation balance, what happens to the funds and when will it be available to you
  • Review all personal insurances, especially policy details and payouts
  • Confirm your legal needs and requirements and the directions under the Will
  • Determine whether the executor of the Will is best placed to administer the estate

The complexities of each of these items varies, with many requiring an experienced and qualified advisor. If you need assistance or guidance in respect to any of the items listed please contact Diana Dimitrov, our specialist in assisting women and families, on (03) 8823 6884.

Managing your family business after the loss of your partner.

Taking over the management of the family business and its stakeholders can be extremely stressful and challenging. Having the right guidance and support can make the entire experience less stressful and most importantly, take the pressure off at a time where a critical decision is necessary.

Where your involvement in the business has been minimal, stepping into a management role or dealing with the future of the family business can be overwhelming.

An experienced advisor can help you assess your options and at the same time, step into a management role while you take the time to cope with your emotional distress and make your decisions.

  1. Your family business

An experienced advisor can:

  • Work with you to assess your options
  • Step into a mentoring or coaching role to guide and support you in your new role
  • Step into a CFO/ General Manager role to continue to operate the business on your behalf
  • Liaise with your bank to ensure interim facilities are in place to continue trading
  • Identify key staff, their role and impact within the business to understand and determine their future
  • Understand current work in progress and manage customer expectations
  • Manage staffing requirements, establishing a support mechanism for them during this difficult time
  • Manage payroll requirements
  • Establish a stakeholder map to develop a communication approach to each of the key groups including family members, customers, suppliers, landlords, government and shareholders
  • Undertake a valuation of the business in its current state and look at how to maximise its value
  • Commence a business performance evaluation to understand the position of the business, such as growth, maturity or decline
  • Review and understand the business insurances and what they mean

Coming to terms with the new responsibilities required is eased when you know you have someone in your corner to guide you through. If you need assistance or guidance in respect to any of the items listed please contact our specialist Damien Quinn on (03) 8823 6855.