On the Seventh Day of Christmas – I really do need to take time to get my Estate Planning in order

Posted on 10 December 2013

As Lawyers, we actively encourage our clients to undertake Estate Planning for a very good reason. Assisting families dealing with a sick or dying relative or trying to administer an estate when no formal, legal documents are in place is frustrating and hard on everyone involved. For this reason, the end of year is a good time to consider what you have already and what you may need.

Everyone over the age of 18 should consider their estate planning needs. It is not just for the elderly. Most adults have property, whether it just be a car or personal possessions, and almost everyone has a bank account. If something happens to you and you don’t have a Will or a Power of Attorney, without a legal authority, even the task of withdrawing money for your needs or shutting a bank account brings major problems for a relative or close friend trying to administer or finalise your affairs. With that in mind, here’s why Estate Planning documents are so important.

Will: Deals with a number of matters including who receives your assets and in what proportion, who will look after your children and any burial instructions.

Power of Attorney: Allows someone to act in your capacity to sign documents or make decisions for you regarding your property and finances if you can’t.

Enduring Guardianship: Appoints a guardian for you if you become incapacitated, who can make decisions about your residence, physical care and treatment.

Advance Health Care Directive ("Living Will"): Provides your guardian with detailed instructions as to what you want to happen if you become incapacitated, (e.g.) treatment to be provided or not provided.

Binding Death Benefit Nomination: States who is to receive your Superannuation. Without this, the trustees of your Super Fund can distribute your superannuation to whoever they want. Remember, it needs to be updated every 3 years.

If you need assistance with completing your Estate Planning wishes, contact Dooley and Associates and we will be happy to assist you.