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Securing Your Future

Securing Your Future: How Estate Planning can make a difference

By Pete Gwozdecky – Solicitor, Estates & Estate Planning

17 October 2016

Whilst writing your Will is an essential aspect of securing your future and that of your family, it’s not the only step you should be taking on the path to getting your affairs in order.

As I outlined in “Why Make a Will?” – published on our website on 18 August 2016 – a valid Will is the only way to efficiently and effectively pass on your estate to those you want after you die.

However, your Will does not operate if you were to become mentally incapacitated. Here at Commins Hendriks, we encourage you to talk to a legal practitioner to get advice on practical estate planning.

In addition to having a Will and adequate Superannuation Death Benefit arrangements in place, your Estate Plan should include an Enduring Power of Attorney and an Enduring Guardian.

Enduring Power of Attorney

You have the ability to appoint Enduring Power of Attorney/s, who may be empowered to deal with your financial affairs and property on your behalf if you’re mentally incapable.

It’s also something you might consider doing if you’re planning to travel or to live interstate or overseas for an extended period of time. For example, if you’re going overseas your Attorney/s could pay your bills, or if you have business dealings on the other side of the country or world, they could make a decision or deal on your behalf.

A company may also appoint a General Power of Attorney to act on its behalf. However, your Attorney/s cannot act in your capacity as a director of a company unless they’re appointed by the Company (as opposed to yourself) as Principal.

You can place limitations and conditions on your Attorney/s and can provide a substitute Attorney/s.

Knowing your financial and legal interests are in the hands of someone you trust may give you peace of mind.

Enduring Guardian

An Enduring Guardianship enables you to empower someone to make decisions for you concerning healthcare, medical treatment and lifestyle decisions, only if you were to become incapable of making those decisions.

Like your Attorney, your Guardian can make decisions for you whilst you are alive, unlike your Executors under your Will.

However, unlike your Attorney, your Guardian can only make decisions in respect to your healthcare or lifestyle – not legal or financial decisions. For example, your Guardian could be empowered to decide:

  • where you live;
  • what health care you receive;
  • what other kinds of personal services you receive,
  • and to consent to the carrying out of medical or dental treatment for you.

You could also provide directions to your Guardian/s with respect to refusing medical treatment on your behalf in certain situations.

You can place limitations and conditions on your Guardian/s and can provide a substitute Guardian/s.

Our knowledgeable and friendly team at Commins Hendriks can provide you with some further tips and information on securing your future.

We can work together with you and your advisors, such as your accountants and financial planners or aged care providers, to create a comprehensive plan and ensure that appropriate documentation is put in place to implement your plan.

For more details and assistance, please contact us on 1800 643 779.