Wills and power of attorney

 

Wills and Power of attorney

We are all guilty of putting it off, but arranging your Will and power of attorney is a wise move.
Understanding the process and preparing for it now make everything a little easier for your loved ones, if the worst should happen.

Estate Plans

Everyone has an estate. Regardless of how large or small, you may want to have some control over how it is distributed. An estate plan is a collection of instructions that come into action upon your death. These measures will ensure your wishes are honoured and prevent differing family opinions. Your estate plan should, at the least, cover the distribution of your assets. Always have a legal professional look over your estate plan and consider everyone who will be involved in the outcomes.

  • Your Will.
  • Testamentary trust.
  • Superannuation death nominations.

Will

Your Will comes into action upon your death and can govern things such as the division of your assets, who will legally care for your children, establishment of trusts, donations to charities and even funeral specifications. You can buy kits to arrange your Will, but it is always wise to have a solicitor look over it afterwards. Make a habit of keeping your Will updated as your life circumstances change, so you can rest assured that your wishes will be met.

Testamentary Trusts

Testamentary trusts are a component of a Will intended to protect assets. They empower a trustee to look after assets on behalf of the beneficiary until the trust expires. You might choose to set up a testamentary trust if:

  • The beneficiaries to your assets are underage.
  • Your beneficiary has a diminished mental capacity.
  • You don’t believe the beneficiary will make sound financial decisions, or
  • You don’t want your assets caught up in divorce or bankruptcy issues.

Superannuation death nominations

You can nominate how you would like your super benefits to be distributed in the event of your death. Nominations can be non-binding or binding dependant on your preferences and there may be criteria surrounding whom you can nominate. You should contact your Superannuation Fund provider for specific information and review your nominated beneficiaries each year as your circumstances may have changed.

If you don't already have an Estate Plan in place, don't delay it any longer. Ensure that you safeguard your assets for your family and review your plan regularly, or when your circumstances change.

  • The beneficiaries to your assets are underage.
  • Your beneficiary has a diminished mental capacity.
  • You don’t believe the beneficiary will make sound financial decisions, or
  • You don’t want your assets caught up in divorce or bankruptcy issues.

Power of attorney

Who do you trust to look after your best interests? Appointing a power of attorney will give an individual the authority to either legally represent you or to support your decisions. Although the laws on power of attorney differ from state to state, there are four basic types in Victoria:

  • General non enduring power of attorney - an individual appointed to make legal and/or financial decisions on your behalf. A General non enduring power of attorney is invalidated if you lose the ability to make your own decisions.
  • Enduring power of attorney - an individual appointed to make legal and/or financial decisions on your behalf. If you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself the enduring power of attorney continues and the attorney can continue to make decisions on your behalf.
  • Medical enduring power of attorney - an individual appointed to make medical decisions for you if you become unable to do so yourself.
  • Supportive power of attorney - an individual appointed to assist a person to make decisions. Supportive attorney appointments are designed to promote the rights of people with disabilities by assisting them to make their own decisions about things that affect them.
When it comes to nominating a person to act as your attorney, choose people that are trustworthy and have your best interests at heart.