Why it’s important to have your legal ducks in a row

Regardless of your stage of life, it is very important to have a power of attorney, an enduring guardianship appointment and a current will in place.

Solicitor Sadie Hamer of Hamer & Hamer Lawyers  says powers of attorney and enduring guardianship appointments are vital.

“They protect your interests in the event that you lose the ability to make your own decisions during your lifetime,” she says.

“Wills are important because they protect your interests when you pass away.”

“These documents ensure that your wishes are fulfilled both for yourself (in the case of a Power of Attorney and for enduring guardianship appointment) and for your loved ones – in the instance where you pass away.”

Basically, a will is a legal document which ensures assets are distributed according to an individual’s wishes after they die. A will can cover all assets such as property, land, car, shares, bank accounts, insurance policies and personal items such as jewellery and family photographs.

“Essentially, through your will, you can give to anyone anything that you own,” Ms Hamer says.

Without a will, the law of intestacy will take affect.

“This law means that your loved ones will not be allocated property in the way you had perhaps had in mind,” she says. “Preparation of a will is quite a simple process. However, if it is not prepared correctly it will not be valid and it will therefore not be recognised.”

Ms Hamer says it is wise to use a solicitor to prepare a will, and ensure that the Executor, which is the person who will administer the estate, is in place.

Sadie Hamer’s tips to consider when drafting a Will, power of attorney and enduring guardianship appointment:

  1. Use a lawyer who specialises in wills and get the job done properly! The handmade versions are just not worth the headaches they can cause for the family that you leave behind.
  2. Once signed, keep your original documents in a safe place. A solicitor’s safe custody is best.  Let your executor and beneficiaries know where your documents are kept.
  3. When getting your will organised, write a list of all your assets and details of your accountant and give this to your executor or let them know where to find it in the event that you pass away. This will make your executor’s job as easy as possible when you pass away and will ensure that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes quickly and cost effectively.
  4. Identify your beneficiaries properly and ensure that your executor knows their addresses.
  5. You can use your will to detail how you wish to be buried and how you wish your funeral arrangements to be conducted.

Oxley Home Care, established in 2006, is a family-owned Sydney company and is an Approved Government Provider for aged care services, specialising in Dementia Care.

Oxley Home Care provides Dementia Care, Private Care, Home Care, Nursing and Allied Health to enable people to live a quality life independently in their own home and stay connected to their local community. For more information, please feel free to call Oxley Home Care on 1300 993 591.

Gilian Douglass

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