Estate planning refers to the process of getting your affairs in order so that your wishes can be properly executed when you pass away. The most common document that people recognise is a ‘will’, however there are other instruments that can help you and your family in the event that you lose capacity or pass away.
What Tools are Available?
- Power of Attorney
- Enduring Guardian
- Advance Health Care Directive
Depending on the type and size of the estate, superannuation and trusts may also need to be considered.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that outlines what you would like to happen after you die. It explains the distribution of your assets (money, property) and who those assets will go to. It is the only way to be sure that your wishes will be followed after you die.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document which gives another person authority to act on your behalf in matters that concern you. For example, it might give someone permission to access your bank accounts or to manage your financial affairs if you cannot. The Power of Attorney can also be used in circumstances such as extended overseas trips.
What is an Ensuring Guardian?
An Enduring Guardian is the lifestyle equivalent of the Power of Attorney. It gives another person power to make decisions about your health and lifestyle. It becomes effective when you lose capacity and extends for the duration of that incapacity. In the event that you have not appointed someone, and you lose capacity, an application will need to be made to the Guardianship Division of NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal to appoint someone. So it can make life a lot easier if you have one prepared before any issues arise.
What is an Advance Care Directive?
An Advance Care Directive steps in where you sustain an injury or become seriously ill and are unable to communicate your wishes in regards to your health care. This will assist your family and the medical team make decisions about how to treat you and what procedures and medications you would or would not want. If an Advance Care Directive is valid then it must be followed and generally, neither health professionals nor family members will be able to interfere with this.