Why you need a will

A legally valid will ensures that your estate is given to people you care about when you pass away. A legally prepared Will could also reduce the likelihood of any estate disputes.

Your estate plan should include the following professionally drafted documents:

Role of the executor

An important element of a will is setting out who your executor is going to be. The executor will oversee the distribution of your estate, collect all assets and pay any outstanding debts upon your passing.

If you die without a will it is considered that you have died ‘intestate’ and your assets will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy without any regard to your personal preferences.

An Enduring Power of Attorney is another important part of your estate plan. You can choose people to act on your behalf in regards to most financial and legal decisions, such as buying and selling property, accessing your bank accounts, paying bills and signing legal documents for you.

An Enduring Power of Attorney can be used at different times. You can specify when you want the nominated persons to be able to act for you. For example, perhaps you are going on a holiday and want them to be able to step in while you are gone, or maybe you want them only to step in if a doctor has said you have lost your mental capacity.

Advance Care Directives allow you to express wishes about your future living arrangements and health care. You can also nominate persons to make decisions for you. For example, perhaps you would prefer to stay in your home for as long as possible or have life support removed if there was no reasonable chance of recovery. You can include this in your Advance Care Directive to help your family make the best decisions for you when you’re not capable of making those decisions yourself.

If you haven’t prepared an Enduring Power of Attorney or Advance Care Directive and need one, but have unfortunately become mentally unable to make one yourself, then your family or carers will have to make an application and attend a hearing at the SA Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“SACAT”).

Get in touch with us

Act now. It’s never too early to start preparing your estate plan. Contact Beth Castell at Turner Freeman Lawyers on 8213 1000.