Everybody needs to have a will. Nobody wants to die expectedly or unexpectedly, leaving behind family disputes. There are three important documents that you should consider having in respect of your assets, finances, and lifestyle.
A Will is an important and essential document for every person over the age of 18 and of legal capacity. A Will contains instructions on how a person’s assets will be distributed upon their death. The preparation of a Will involves consideration of several important issues. For example:
How will your assets be divided?
Who do you need to provide for?
Have you separated, divorced, remarried, or entered into a de facto relationship since your last Will was drafted?
Have you considered your funeral arrangements?
Who will be the executor of your Will?
If you pass away without a properly prepared Will, it can be expensive to deal with the legal issues that arise in administering your estate. If you do not have a Will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the Administration Act to your spouse, children, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, whether or not you want those people to benefit. Having a Will allows you to specify who you want to administer your estate and who will benefit from it. A Will is one of the most important documents that you will ever sign. You can prepare your own Will, however you may need advice to ensure that your Will is valid to minimise the risk of dispute.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
You can appoint a person of your choice to make financial and property decisions on your behalf if you lose legal capacity, become ill, have an accident, are away from the State or country, or for any other reason. This person is known as your attorney and can make decisions in relation to your property and finances so long as it is in your best interest.
Enduring Power of Guardianship (EPG)
You can also appoint a person of your choice to make important personal lifestyle and treatment decisions on your behalf should you ever become incapable of making such decisions yourself. This person is known as an enduring guardian. An enduring guardian cannot be authorised to make property or financial decisions on your behalf.
These three documents can only be executed by a person over the age of 18, who has full legal capacity. 'Full legal capacity' means that the person must be able to understand the nature and effect of the document they are completing and the nature and extent of their estate.