A Will is a legal document that states how you would like the distribution of your money and belongings to occur, and you can even dictate the manner your body is to be dealt with once you pass away.
In the event that you pass away without a Will, which means that you have died “in testate”, your belongings might not be dealt with in a way you would want.
Additionally, your bank accounts and properties in Australia will be “frozen” because no one (including your spouse or family members) can deal with your assets until the Court appoints an Administrator to deal with Estate. This process may take up to several months.
If you have a properly executed Will when you pass away, it may take less time for the Courts to grant the appointed executor in your Will the authority to deal with your assets and properties.
We recommend you getting a Will to ensure that your best interests are protected after you pass on, and allow you and your family some peace of mind and certainty. For more information, please contact us on (07) 5571 1600.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a formal document giving another person the authority to make personal and/or financial decisions on your behalf. You can appoint more than one attorney and you can specify when your attorney’s powers begin and what powers they will have. Please note that the person or persons you appoint as Attorney must be someone that you can trust completely to act honestly.
- Personal decisions relate to your care and welfare, including your health care, (e.g. deciding where or with whom you live or consenting to medical treatment).
- Financial decisions relate to the management of your finances (e.g. paying your bills and taxes, selling or renting your home, using your income to pay for your needs or invest your money).
There are 2 types of power of attorneys, namely the General power of attorney and Enduring power of attorney.
1. General Power of Attorney
You would use a general power of attorney to appoint someone to make financial decisions on your behalf for a specific period or event, for example if you are going overseas and need someone to sell your house, or pay your bills, or conduct business on your behalf.
A General Power of Attorney can be used while you can still make your own decisions and ends once the following occurs:
- you no longer can make sound decisions (i.e. you lose mental capacity to make reasonable judgments); or
- you can choose to end the General Power of Attorney at a specific time or at an event of your choosing.
2. Enduring Power of Attorney
You would use an enduring power of attorney to appoint someone to make financial and/or personal decisions on your behalf.
For financial decisions, you can nominate whether you want the attorney to begin making financial decisions for you either:
- Immediately; or
- at some other date or occasion, such as once you’ve lost capacity to make these decisions.
Your attorney’s power to make personal decisions only commences when you lose capacity to make these decisions.
Please note that from 30 November 2020 onwards, new enduring power of attorney and advance health directive forms will be applicable due to changes made under the Powers of Attorney Act 1998. The New Queensland Capacity Assessment Guidelines 2020 (capacity guidelines) will also be effective from 30 November 2020. If you require assistance in this regard, please contact our team today.