Your wills and powers of attorney are essential components of good estate planning.
What is a will?
A will contains your instructions on how to distribute your assets after your death. For it to be legal, your will should be written and signed by two independent witnesses. It can be as short as one page.
Who are executors?
An executor is the person you choose to follow your instructions as set out in your will. Typically, this will be your spouse or loved one in the first instance. Someone you trust. It is always good form to have an alternate executor.
If you have minor children, your will should set out who it is that you believe should look after your children if you were to die. Is it your parents? Are they too old? Siblings? Your spouses siblings? Appointing a Testamentary Guardian may be one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make. Who do you trust? Do you give them the purse strings or just the children?
Where do my assets go?
Your assets are given to the loved ones you want to give them to (and the not-so-loved ones do not get to benefit!). Typically we give to our spouse and our children. What if am estranged from my children and they will contest the will? What if I have no children?
We can assist with making sure that your will reflects your wishes and to minimise any future claims.
Children with disabilities
There are often circumstances where a child needs to be looked after but will never be in a position to look after their own money. We can draw a testamentary trust to ensure that the child is protected and provided for.
Circumstances change. Your daughter is bankrupt. Any inheritance would be wasted. Your son is soon-to-be divorced. Should his ex-wife obtain some of your estate? If these or other issues concern you, a testamentary trust may be what you need. We will talk you through this process and make sure you are informed about the best way to proceed.
Without a will:
- The person who is to look after your affairs will probably have to apply to the Supreme Court. This is costly and you may not even like that person.
- That special gift you promised someone will not be honoured.
- Your assets will be divided by the state according to a fixed scale.
- Your wishes regarding what to do with your remains may not be recorded.
- Your views as to who should look after your minor children may not be followed.
Plan for the future
We work too hard to build a nest egg for our family’s future and most wills are simple. Everyone should put a little time into making sure that nest egg is divided and distributed in the easiest, safest and most sensible way.
Andrew has been assisting clients with succession planning for years. His experience with the good, the bad and the ugly of will-making will benefit you. Contact us today to discuss your needs.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document that typically has two components. The financial component allows you to appoint someone to make financial decisions for you. It can be as simple as a husband and wife giving each other power.
You may appoint your children to make financial decisions for you if you have lost capacity. We often think of elderly relatives and say, ‘That’s not us,’ but we all know people whose lives have been altered unexpectedly and dramatically. It is always a good idea to have a written plan.
The health component lets you decide what will happen to you if you have lost capacity. Who should make the decisions about where you will stay and what procedures can be performed? Your children, siblings or parents? Your compassionate friend? It is too late to make that decision after you have lost capacity, so call us today to discuss how we can help you.
Andrew Gardiner Law
Wills and Powers of Attorney | Client Case Studies
Our client was an elderly gentleman who wanted to give a share of his estate to his daughter on the proviso that the daughter’s husband never got a share. A testamentary trust was included in the will to isolate the share of the estate that was to be given to that daughter.
Many clients have come to us in their later years. Some question the capacity of their loved ones or parents to make decisions. Others have physical constraints. We take instructions from our clients. We will often attend a client’s residence to sign documents and we may get a doctor involved to make sure that our client has capacity and we can show this later.
Our client was acting as power of attorney for someone who had lost capacity. There was a dispute and an action was brought against the attorney to the tribunal (QCAT). Our client had followed our instructions on what they could and could not do. They were transparent and the tribunal found in their favour.