*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in South Australia.

A common response we often hear from our younger clients when discussing Powers of Attorney, is a question: “Why do I need powers of attorney documents, aren’t they for the elderly?”

My answer to that is that you cannot predict the future. It is a bit morbid to think about a life altering event such as an accident occurring which could derail you from your current path. However, the risks of such an event are real.

At Turner Freeman Lawyers, alongside our Estate Planning and Dispute services, we offer two main living will documents: an Enduring Power of Attorney and an Advanced Care Directive. These documents are often referred to as ‘living wills’, as they operate during an individual’s lifetime rather than when someone passes away.

Living Wills

Enduring Powers of Attorney

Enduring Powers of Attorney are required to allow another person to make decisions in regards to your money and assets.  For a young person, this need could arise if you suffer an accident or an event such as a stroke which can cause the loss of the ability to make sensible decisions and communicate them.  This may occur after a severe car accident or being placed into an induced coma. This particular document allows an individual, who is considered the donor, to appoint another person as their attorney to deal with the donor’s financial affairs. This typically involves duties such as completing financial transactions at the bank, paying bills on the donor’s behalf and the like. It is crucial to ensure that the attorney you chose to appoint is someone you know and trust.

Advance Care Directives

An Advanced Care Directive operates in a similar way, if a person loses legal capacity, it allows an individual to appoint a substitute-decision maker to carry out their wishes regarding medical treatment and generally make decisions about your care. This document allows you to specify your particular wishes in relation to health care, other personal arrangements such as self-care, lifestyle arrangements and dying wishes. This document also allows you to specify medical outcomes you wish to avoid.

By way of summary, Power of Attorney documents allow you to prepare. Some preparation for a possible life altering event is much better than making no preparation at all. Consider it as a form of insurance. As a young philosopher once said: by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Contact Turner Freeman Lawyers today to discuss and set up your living wills. Call our team on 13 43 63 and chat with on our Wills and Estates experts today.