Wills & powers of attorney
Everyone needs a will. Young or old, healthy or sick – death does not discriminate. Therefore it is of critical importance that you have your affairs in order should the worst happen.
A considered and properly drafted Will should:
- ensure that your property is dealt with in accordance with your wishes and in a way which best serves the interests of your intended beneficiaries;
- formalise your wishes as to future care of your infant children;
- take into account a myriad of other relevant factors such as business succession, trusts, superannuation and strategies for minimising potential for legal challenges to your will; and
- make it easier and less stressful for your loved ones to administer your estate and carry on after you’re gone.
Dying without a Will means that your estate will be dealt with under the Succession Act. This is costly, time consuming and may:
- result in your estate being distributed in a manner which will not necessarily be consistent with your wishes; and
- not take into account any of the above considerations.
If you have got a Will, you still need to have it regularly reviewed to ensure it is valid and to make sure it does what you want it to do and is upgraded regularly to take in to account changes in law and taxation. Changes to the law and changes to your personal circumstances can have the effect of changes the way your will operates (or worse still, render it void or invalid).
Powers of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) provides for your well being if you can’t handle your own affairs. An EPOA appoints another person to make important decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so.
Illness, like death, can strike at any time and at any age. Events and conditions such as dementia, stroke, accidents and injuries can have a profound effect on your life and may mean that you can no longer manage your own affairs. Without an EPOA in place, your loved ones may be forced to make an application to the Guardianship Tribunal before they are able to come to your aid and make important decisions on your behalf concerning financial matters and/or personal health matters. This is costly and time consuming and may result in someone you do not know, or someone that you would not have wished to appoint, managing your affairs.
Even if you have an EPOA, you still need to have it regularly reviewed to ensure it is valid and reflects your current circumstances and wishes.
Advanced Health Directives
Have you got or even heard of an AHD?
Like with Wills and EPOAs, having an Advanced Health Directive is important. In essence, the AHD formalises your wishes as to what medical treatment you desire (and what treatment you don’t require) in the final stages of your life. An AHD only operates when you are unable to effectively convey your wishes to your health-care providers. Having an AHD is the only sure way to ensure that your wishes are respected, giving you the power to leave on your own terms, with dignity.