What is a legacy file, and why do you need one for your home?

Emergencies like a burst geyser or a tree falling on your home during a storm happen, and we cannot predict when it will happen, but we can ensure that we are prepared.

Preparing a legacy file with all the pertinent information relating to your property and knowing who is responsible for what is vital. 

While we all aim to go paperless for the environment, we need to ensure that we have a hardcopy back-up in cases where emails are deleted or back-ups fail. 

A box file is probably best, with a pocket or section labelled for each category.  While it may seem onerous and unnecessary, it might “save” you one day to have everything at hand quickly.

Among the items to store in the file are:

  • An information sheet with the contact details of regularly used and reliable service providers such as the family attorney, insurance broker, electrician, plumber, gardening service, domestic worker, appliance repairmen, swimming pool company and repair services, and so on;
  • A copy or original title deed of the property – this document is important for the sale of a property as well as when plans might need to be drawn up for renovations to the property;
  • Mortgage bond details;
  • A copy of the Deed of Sale;
  • Records of all improvements to the property and clearance certificates or engineers’ reports;
  • Invoices detailing any major repairs done to any part of the property;
  • Approved building plans;
  • The latest version of the owner’s insurance on the building as well as any short-term insurance on the contents of the home;
  • The latest beetle, electrical compliance, electric fence and gas compliance certificates; and
  • Security company contract and contact details of their technical support team, as well as the emergency numbers.

In addition to documentation pertaining to the property, personal information should be filed as well, such as copies of identity documents, a copy of the homeowner’s latest will (the original will be kept by the family attorney), marriage certificates, ante nuptial contract, divorce order and settlement agreement (if applicable), any policies that might be needed on the death of the owner of the property, bank account details, investment details, motor vehicle registration documents, television license, phone contracts, etc.  Details and contracts pertaining to medical cover, tax returns, retail and municipal accounts should also be filed.

Some people do take this one step further by storing scanned copies of all important documentation in a Cloud based system online, which is probably a wise thing to do in case of a fire.

By doing this you are eliminating all stresses from already stressful events and easing the process when you decide to sell your home. 

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