Estate planning is not a hot topic being discussed around the kitchen table. However, would your family know what your wishes are if you lost capacity to make decisions for yourself? Or how you would like your estate distributed if you passed away? Making your wishes known by creating or updating your Will, having a Power of Attorney and Advance Health Directive is important to ensure you have the necessary plans in place for your future.
What is a Will and why do I need one?
A Will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for when you pass away. Your Will appoints an executor, this will be the person responsible for carrying out your wishes as set out in your Will. The Will outlines how you want your assets to be distributed and you can also include your wishes for burial and funeral arrangements. We strongly recommend that you have a discussion with your loved ones if you have specific details about burial/cremation and funeral arrangements.
Most people assume that they don’t need a Will if they don’t own anything or only have a few assets. This is not true! Everyone over the age of 18 should make a Will even if you only have a bank account as if you have superannuation this may have a life insurance policy attached to it.
Passing away without a Will is known as dying intestate and your estate will be distributed in accordance with the Succession Act 1981. This could mean that your estate may not be distributed in the way you want. By having a valid Will in place can ease the burden for your loved ones, reduce conflict and save them costs in court processes and procedures.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney (“EPOA”) appoints an attorney to manage your affairs in the event that you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself. Your attorney can look after your personal, health, business & legal matters including paying bills and signing documents on your behalf.
Losing capacity can be temporary or permanent and doesn’t just happen to people who are elderly. A serious accident, illness or disability can happen at any time. An EPOA is an important document to have so that someone you trust can be appointed to make these decisions for you.
What is an Advance Health Directive?
An Advance Health Directive provides specific directions for particular health matters and outlines your wishes or views about the quality of life that would be acceptable to you in the event that you were to have a severe accident or illness with no reasonable prospect for recovery. This document can help ease the burden for your loved ones when facing these difficult decisions.
What do I do next?
To make or update your estate plan contact us today to arrange a consultation. We offer fixed fees for our estate planning documents starting for $440 incl GST.
Please note that this blog is not legal advice and we strongly recommend that you obtain independent legal advice before proceeding with your estate planning requirements.