Estate planning is more than just preparing a Will. You should also consider who will make decisions during your lifetime should you be unable to make those decisions for yourself. These decisions include your legal and financial affairs, and your health and lifestyle. For this you will need to appoint a Power of Attorney and an Enduring Guardian.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document which deals with legal and financial decision making. An Appointment of Enduring Guardian is a further legal document which deals with health, medical and lifestyle decision making. These documents enable you to appoint trusted family members and/or friends to make decisions for you in the event you lose capacity to make those decisions for yourself in the future.
To prepare both of these documents you must have capacity. It is therefore important you prepare the documents whilst you can understand the nature and effect of the documents.
If you lose capacity and do not have a Power of Attorney and/or Appointment of Enduring Guardian, the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal has the authority to determine applications for substitute decision makers. They can issue orders to appoint a financial manager and/or guardian on your behalf. Whilst this may result in added stress for your loved ones, it may also result in someone being appointed who you may not have ordinarily appointed yourself.
In determining who you should consider appointing, it is important they are trustworthy and will act in your best interests. In terms of a Power of Attorney, they should be responsible enough to manage your finances. You can appoint more than one person and by doing so you can elect for them to be appointed jointly, or jointly and severally. Jointly means they are only able to make decisions if they all agree about the decision. Jointly and severally means they can make decisions together but can also make decisions independently of each other.
At Everingham Solomons we have the expertise and experience to assist you with all your estate planning needs, because Helping You is Our Business.
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