Powers of Attorney (Planning Your Future)

PLANNING FOR YOUR FUTURE

1.  A Will

Where there’s a Will there’s a way to provide for your loved ones and avoid a family dispute! Every responsible Australian over the age of 18 is advised to think seriously about making a Will because we cannot predict when we will die.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that describes how your belongings and assets, (including your property, money, investments, jewellery, etc.) are to be distributed after your death.

A Will can be altered if your situation changes.  Some examples would be: marriage, divorce, a change of address, one of your beneficiaries goes bankrupt, an inheritance or a big win on Lotto!

2.  An Enduring Power of Attorney 

So you keep control of your assets when you can’t look after them yourself

If you were unable to handle your own financial affairs because of something like illness, a car accident or travel overseas you would need to appoint a trusted person who could act for you.

What is a Power of Attorney?

This is a document which allows someone else to look after your financial affairs and to act on your behalf.  The powers can be general, ongoing or only for a specific task or time.

For example, if you are abroad during the time your house is on the market, your Power of Attorney would detail your instructions and allow the appointed person to handle the sale.

Another example would be for a couple to give each other a Power of Attorney in case one becomes very ill or incapacitated for some reason. (e.g. mental illness like dementia).

The person you appoint may be a member of your family, a trusted friend or someone like your solicitor. However you may also change or cancel your Power of Attorney at any time.

Your Attorney has the same powers as you over the assets and money so it is very important that your Power of Attorney is carefully prepared so that your attorney can do what you intend for them to do.

 

3.  Enduring Guardianship  

Appointing an Enduring Guardian allows a loved one or another trusted person to make Lifestyle decisions for you if you are unable to.

We would all like to ensure that our loved ones know what we believe and what we want when we are unable to make the choice ourselves, such as whether we go into a Nursing Home.  But sometimes this is not possible if we become very sick or have an accident.

What is an Enduring Guardian?

An enduring guardian is someone you choose to make lifestyle and health decisions for you when you are not capable of doing this yourself.  This differs from a Power of Attorney which is specifically for financial control.

You may direct the enduring guardian to carry out your wishes which are called functions.  You can give your enduring guardian as many or as few functions as you like.  One example is to direct your guardian to consult with a close friend regarding each function.

 

4.   A Living Will / (Advance Health Directive)

This allows you to state your wishes on vital health issues.

We would all like to ensure that our loved ones know what we believe and what we want when we are unable to make the choice ourselves, such as whether we go into a Nursing Home, which doctor we go to, what medical treatment we receive.

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will outlines your wishes.  It documents whether you want to die peacefully at home and under what circumstances you would wish to be transferred to a Nursing Home or hospital.

A Living Will can determine what medical treatment you want, if any should you:

  • have an irreversible illness, disease or injury.
  • acquire a disability which means that you could be permanently dependent on others for care.
  • have a terminal condition;
  • require artificially invasive medical procedures to prolong life.
  • want to die as naturally and as comfortably as possible free of pain.
  • sustain brain damage but remain alive and totally dependent due to profound neurological impairment.
  • require resuscitation or rehabilitation;
  • choose to donate any organs for research or to benefit another person.