There was a time in the last few weeks where it appeared that things were changing almost by the minute. From the statistics, to the recommendations, all appeared to happen in the blink of an eye. And generally, that’s how quickly significant events occur.
For many of the more than the 50% of Australians who do not have a valid Will in place, this was a significant reminder of how important it is to have your affairs in order and making a Will is an important step in this process.
With your Will, in the complete package of your Estate Planning, also comes the Enduring Power of Attorney and Appointment of Enduring Guardian.
To re-cap the importance of each:
- Your Will: Your Will comes into effect when you pass away. Your Will allows you to gift your assets as you wish. If you do not have a Will in place when you pass away, the law in NSW dictates who receives your Estate and in what share. This may not be to the people that you want and so, it is important to discuss your intentions with a solicitor to make sure your Will is structured to your wishes.
- Enduring Power of Attorney: Your Enduring Power of Attorney is in effect during your lifetime and relates to your legal and financial affairs. The Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a person/s to assist you with your financial affairs if you were to be incapable of managing your own affairs, for example: because you were in an accident or suffered from dementia.
- Appointment of Enduring Guardian: Your Appointment of Enduring Guardian is also in effect during your lifetime and relates to your lifestyle and medical needs. If you were unable to make your own medical or lifestyle decisions, this document allows you to appoint a person/s to decide matters such as: where you live, what services you receive and consent to and refuse medical treatment on your behalf.
Without an Enduring Power of Attorney and Appointment of Enduring Guardian, much the same as without a Will, the process can often be much longer and much more strenuous on your family if they were required to act on your behalf and these documents were not in place.
In the time of COVID-19, the Government has made a series of legislative changes to allow Wills, Powers of Attorney and Appointments of Enduring Guardian to be witnessed by video, via apps such as Zoom. This has meant contactless service with the same level of comfort and certainty for clients.
If you have any questions or would like to arrange an appointment to discuss your Estate Planning, please contact the Estate Planning Department on 02 4626 5077 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.