Estate, Wills and Power of Attorney
“If you’re not ready to die, then how can you live?” by Charles de Lint
Estate Planning advice is aimed at eliminating uncertainties over the administration of your estate after you die, maximising the value of your estate by reducing taxes and other expenses, and minimising the heartache and distress of the loved ones you leave behind.
Estate Planning includes the preparation of a Will, a Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Guardianship.
What is a will?
A Will is a legal document that sets out how your property will be distributed after death.
Should I have a will?
Every adult should have a Will. A Will gives you control over who gets your property after you die. It should be your choice about how your assets are distributed. Your Will may deal with items of sentimental value, and may direct that a particular asset be left to a particular person. Also, you Will can state that a particular member of your family shall receive more or less than other beneficiaries. You may include gifts to charities or other significant people in your life who may not be related to you.
What if I die without leaving a valid Will?
If you die without leaving a Will, it means you are “intestate”. In NSW, the Succession Act 2006 provides a formula which will be applied to your assets and will determine who is entitled and in what share.
This may result in unfair and unintended distribution amongst your family. It will be left to those people who feel they have been treated unfairly by the application of the formula to your estate to apply to the Court to seek a share. This can be expensive and stressful and most importantly can be avoided if you leave a valid Will.
Can I use a “do it yourself” Will Kit?
Your Will is probably the most important legal document you will sign in your life.
Advice on your Will should include taxation consequences, advice on possible claims against your estate, and discussion of proceeds from life insurance and superannuation.
Vague, ambiguous wording, or incorrectly signed and witnessed Wills may find your Will invalid, and cause your loved ones distress and pain when grieving your loss.
We can assist you, and our service is more than just drafting your Will, it’s about the best advice for you.
What is a “Power of Attorney?”
A General Power of Attorney is a very powerful document which appoints an attorney to make financial decisions on your behalf, if you are physically away or overseas.
You can place conditions and limitations in your Power of Attorney and if necessary, appoint more than one attorney.
Your appointed attorney will have the power to, among other things:
Manage your bank account;
Enter into contracts for sale or purchase of land;
Pay your bills.
An Enduring Power of Attorney gives your attorney power to make financial decisions on your behalf, even if you lose mental capacity, for example through illness such as being in a coma or persistent vegetative state, or accident. This is a very powerful document.
You will need to consider whether it is necessary for your Power of Attorney document to be registered. Registration is necessary if your Attorney will deal with property or mortgage transactions. If your Power of Attorney is to be registered, you will obtain a book and reference number, further validating the document.
We stand ready to assist in the drafting of your Power of Attorney, and if necessary, arranging registration at the Lands Department.
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