Estate Planning – What documents do you need?

Family Law – Times, Dates and Certification
January 29, 2017

 

Estate Planning refers to making arrangements for another person to manage your financial, medical and personal affairs if you are unable to do so.  This can be because of death, disability, or even something as simple as that you are travelling.

 

The basic suite of documents which we recommend are:

  •             Power of Attorney
  •             Appointment of Guardian
  •             Advance Medical Directive
  •             Will

 

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document which appoints another person, or people to manage your financial and legal affairs whilst you are alive.  Your attorney can sign legally binding documents on your behalf, such as managing your bank account, buying and selling land on your behalf, or using your money to pay your debts.  This can be either whilst you are travelling overseas, or can be useful if you become unwell or lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself, or are no longer able to manage your financial affairs.

If your Attorney will need to deal with real estate on your behalf, you will need to register the Power of Attorney at the Land and Property Information Service before they can do so.

 

Appointment of Guardian

An Enduring Appointment of Guardian is a legal document appointing someone to make decisions for you with regard to personal, medical and lifestyle choices.  The appointment will only take effect if you lose mental capacity and the ability to make decisions on your own behalf.  Your Guardian cannot make financial or legal decisions.

 

The most common function of your Guardian is to make decisions on your behalf in regard to:

  • Accommodation – whether you need to move into an assisted care facility, for example.
  • Health Care including health assistance, home care nursing for example
  • Medical and dental treatment
  • Personal care services such as haircuts, manicure, and other lifestyle choices.

 

Advance Medical Directive

An Advance Medical Directive is a document that states your wishes or directions with regard to your future health care.  It gives guidance to your appointed Guardian so that they know what you want them to tell your medical providers.  It comes into effect only if you cannot make your own decisions.

 

Will

Your Will sets out who you want to receive your assets, such as jewellery, sentimental items, money and property after you die. In your Will you nominate an executor, who is the person who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes.  You may then appoint a guardian of your minor children, distribute specific bequests (such as items of jewellery, heirlooms and collections to particular people), make charitable gifts and dispose of the remainder of your property.

 

There are strict requirements to make sure your Will is valid, and distributes your assets in the way you wish.  In order to comply with those requirements you must:

  • Be over the age of 18 years (except in certain circumstances)
  • Have legal mental capacity
  • Know what assets you have
  • Have an understanding of who are the people who would normally expect to benefit from your estate (whether or not you choose to distribute assets to them).
  • Ensure it is signed correctly.

 

Your Will is an important document and should be stored securely.  Our firm will, if you wish, store your original Will in our safe custody packets.  There is no cost for this service, and your Will is available to your executor whenever they need it.

 

Other Estate Planning

If you own a business, are the director or secretary of a company, have a family trust, or manage a self-managed superannuation fund, your Estate Planning decisions will also include how those entities will be managed if you are unable to do it yourself.

 

If you have any questions, or want some assistance with your Estate Planning, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

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