Is your paperwork in order?

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12 March 2019

Paperwork in order

Almost 50% of people who die haven’t left a will1. And if they haven’t left a will, chances are they haven’t left a great deal of information about other important aspects of their life.

Be sure your affairs in order with this checklist of important paperwork that you should keep together in a safe place, and review it at least once a year. No one likes to think you’ll need it anytime soon, but it’s best to be prepared.

Your Personal Details

Identity documents

Keep your important certificates in one place. This includes your birth certificate, marriage and/or divorce certificates, as well as your passport.

Centrelink and Medicare numbers

Clearly record your Centrelink and Medicare numbers – this may save your family time when identifying you with those organisations.

Funeral information

If you have a funeral insurance policy or any specific wishes for your send off, keep them altogether here, too.


Your Will is the big one to tick off. If you don’t have one when you die, you are deemed to have died intestate, meaning a court-appointed administrator will divide your estate up using a predetermined formula. If you have children under the age of 18, your Will should also include details of who you want to be their legal guardian(s), as well as any specific information about trust funds. It should also record any wishes you have with regards to your funeral, including final resting place. You can purchase DIY Will kits online – if you do this it is recommended to have a solicitor review it2. Alternatively, your solicitor can create your Will for you at a cost. 

Enduring Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive

You may have details recorded about people who can act on your behalf should you be unable to do so, and how you want to be treated should you fall seriously ill and be on life support. Keep this document in a place that it will be easily found. The government’s Planning Ahead Tools can help you get started here if you don’t have these documents in place. 

Your Finances

Bank accounts

Leave a full overview of all of your accounts, including BSB and account numbers – otherwise your estate will have a tough time knowing whether they’ve got everything covered. If accounts are in your name only, how will your family access them? Also, with more Australian couples opting against joint accounts3, it’s likely your family don’t know about every account you have.

Credit and debit cards

Record your credit and debit card numbers, expiry dates and issuing bank so your cards can be cancelled and any debt paid. 

Records of insurance

Your life insurance policy should be kept here, as well as other policies you have – from accidental death insurance, critical illness insurance, death cover insurance, income protection insurance to your car insurance and home insurance policies. Also, record the details of your financial adviser or insurance broker here, too – and if you haven’t recently reviewed your policies and beneficiaries, now is an ideal time to do so. If your life circumstances have changed recently, make sure your insurance cover reflects this.

Superannuation details

Forty per cent of Australians have more than one super account4, so record details of all of your super policies. If you have multiple accounts, or indeed if you potentially have some ‘lost’ accounts, now is a good time to find them. Also, ensure your nominated beneficiary details are up-to-date. You may have nominated them when your life situation was different to today.

Overview of liabilities

Also, keep a record of any outstanding liabilities you have. Whether it’s a credit card bill, HECs debts, car finance or another loan of any description, keep a record of the company the credit is with, account details and contact numbers. Also include the outstanding debt and the date.

Overview of assets

Similarly, keep a rundown of investments you have – from property to stocks and shares, even valuable paintings and jewellery, compile an overview of everything you have, including account numbers, details of any professionals who handle these assets on your behalf, and a dated estimated value.

Your Home And Car

Mortgage details

Your current mortgage statement is a key document to have in this collection of paperwork – ensure you update your records when you receive your latest statement. 

Location of title deeds

If you own your home, your title deeds – or the location of your title deeds – should also be included.

Car registrations

Keep your car registration certificates here too – it’s good to have everything in one place.

And Finally...

Location and details of your safety deposit box – and your collection of paperwork

Whether you have a storage facility to keep possessions in or a safety deposit box to store valuables, leave details of the location and instructions on how to access it in the event of your death.

Also, don’t forget to let someone know where this collection of paperwork is – or leave it somewhere obvious to find. You don’t want all of that hard work to go to waste!


  4. Super accounts data overview | Australian Taxation Office


These pages contain general information only and do not take into account your personal circumstances, objectives or needs. This information is provided in good faith and believed to be accurate at the time it was placed on the MLC Life Insurance website, however we make no representation or warranty as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of this information.

The information provided is not intended to constitute financial, legal or medical advice, or to substitute for the need to consult with your advisers or treating practitioners. Before acting on any information in these pages, you should consider whether it is right for you and consult with your financial, legal and/or medical advisers.

Any views or opinions expressed or referenced here (including in any video content) or in any webpages to which hyperlinks are provided do not represent the opinion of MLC Limited, unless we say otherwise.


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