The importance of estate planning has been emphasised during the Coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has highlighted that, now more than ever, it is crucial to ensure you have up to date estate planning documents in place.
Your estate planning documents should consist of a Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, and appointment of Enduring Guardian. All three of these documents are important for different reasons:
- Your Will sets out your intentions regarding division of your assets upon death. If you do not have will in place at the time of your death, the process to administer your estate will be more involved than if you did have a Will in place. In addition, your assets will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy, which are not necessarily your intentions.
- Your Enduring Power of Attorney appoints someone to make financial decisions on your behalf, before or after you have lost the capacity to do so for yourself (as the case may be). If you do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place and financial decisions need to be made, and you do not have capacity to do so, the matter would need to be directed to NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for appointment of a Financial Manager – which may not necessarily be a personal connection of yours.
- Your appointment of Enduring Guardian appoints someone to make health and welfare decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity. Again, if you do not have an appointment of Enduring Guardian in place, a guardian will need to be appointed by NCAT – which may not necessarily be a personal connection of yours.
You should also consider making a binding nomination on your super fund as to the beneficiary(ies) you want to benefit from your superannuation, and an Advance Care Directive. You can read more about Advance Care Directives on our website.
Not having these documents in place will result in increased stress for your loved ones in what will already be an anxious time for them.
Our office remains open during the Coronavirus outbreak and we are available to prepare new estate planning documents or update your existing documents to reflect any changes to your needs. We have your safety in mind and are currently taking initial instructions for your Will, Power of Attorney, and appointment of Enduring Guardian by teleconference or videoconferencing. We can take your instructions even if you are currently in mandatory isolation.
As your estate planning papers are important legal documents, in most cases a legal practitioner will be required to sign off on them with you, meaning one face to face appointment will be required. We are taking appropriate precautions to ensure that anyone who is ill or has recently returned from overseas does not attend our office in person and have many measures in place to ensure our office is sanitised and safe to attend.
If you need help with estate planning documents, contact Catherine Henry lawyer’s expert Wills & Estates team. Call 1800 874 949 or fill in the form below, and we will be in touch.