Wills and Powers of Attorney

Should I make a Will?

Yes. It is essential to make a Will if you are concerned about who will receive your assets and belongings after you die.  It is particularly important to make a will if you have a family or other dependants.

What is a will:

A Will is a legal document that names the people you want to receive the property and possessions you own at the date of your death.  These people are known as your beneficiaries.

Your property and possessions include everthing you own: your home, land, car, money in bank accounts, insurance policies, shares, jewellery, pictures, furniture, and so on.  Making a Will is the only way you can ensure your assets will be distributed in the way you want after you die.

When you should change your Will:-

  • Marriage or commencement of a de facto relationship including same sex and domestic relationships
  • Divorce
  • Birth of a child or grandchild
  • Death of a beneficiary or executor
  • Change in financial circumstances including bankruptcy
  • Changes to legislation eg. Superannuation, succession law, income tax, capital gains tax and other taxes
  • Place of domicile

What is a power of attorney?

A ‘Power of Attorney’ is a document you can sign to appoint another person (called your attorney) to act for you in relation to financial affairs.  The document states what the attorney is authorised to do.  This can be quite narrow and specific, or as general as you wish.  Any lawful action taken by the attorney under the power of attorney is binding on you, so it is import to appoint someone you can trust.

When the power of attorney is signed, the document can be given to the attorney, or you can hold onto it until the need arises.  When it is provided to your attorney, it can be used to prove that he or she is authorised to act on your behalf.  Even through you have appointed an attorney, you can still personally carry out any transactions, such as banking and the sale of property, while you retain the ability to do so.

What is an enduring guardian?

An enduring guardian is someone you appoint, at a time when you have capacity, to make personal, health or lifestyle decisions on your behalf should you lose the capacity to make them for yourself.

You can appoint more than one enduring guardian if you wish, and you should choose which decision-making areas you want your enduring guardian to have.  These are called functions.  You can give your enduring guardian as many or as few functions as you like.  For example, you can authorise your enduring guardian to decide such things as where you may need to live or what medical treatment you should receive.

Your enduring guardian must act within the principles of the Guardianship Act, in your best interests and within the law.  You cannot give your guardian a function or a direction that would involve them in a unlawful act, such as euthanasia.

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Please contact our office on (02) 4365 4249 or via our email address admin@feliciolawfirm.com.au to discuss your requirements.