Too many people die in Australia each year without having a Will in place. If you want a say in how your personal property and belongings are distributed after you die, engaging a solicitor specialising in Wills, can help you put your Will in place.
A Will is a legal document that sets out how you want the things you own to be distributed after you die. Talking about death can be a sombre thing but making a Will is a wise decision to make for anyone over the age of 18 (who has mental capacity and fully able to understand the nature and implications of the document they are signing), regardless of whether they own property or many assets. You may only have sentimental or small valuable belongings but want a say as to who these belongings go to when you are no longer around to express your wishes.
Making a Will can ensure that you can appoint a person(s) of your choice as executor to carry out your wishes as expressed in the Will. It also allows you to provide for the people you care about, leave particular items to certain people and outline other instructions, for example, arrangements for your funeral.
Your Will should be reviewed and changed whenever your personal circumstances change such as getting married, divorced or having children. Many people are not aware that if they have a Will in place and then get married, that Will is no longer valid and that each party needs to have a new Will prepared.
If you die without making a Will, your estate (your property and belongings) will be administered by a person appointed as administrator of your estate by the Court. Normally, the person appointed as administrator will be someone that has an interest in the estate. If an administrator is appointed, what happens to your personal assets and belongings, could be different from what you intended.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints someone to make decisions on your behalf. The Power of Attorney can be a General Power of Attorney which is given for a specific time (for example if you are going overseas) and then ceases to have effect after that period of time. It also ceases to have effect if you lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions. An Enduring Power of Attorney allows the person you appoint an attorney to continue to make decisions on your behalf even after you lose the capacity to make your own decisions.
Anyone over the age of 18 who has mental capacity is able to make a Power of Attorney.
If you do not have one in place and lose capacity, the job of managing your property and financial matters will be very difficult for your family members and there will be no one with legal authority to make these decisions on your behalf. A family member or someone else close to you may have to apply to the relevant court or tribunal to have a financial manager (someone you may not have chosen) appointed.
It is therefore pertinent that everyone considers have a Power of Attorney in place along with their Will in the case of unexpected occurrences such as sickness, accidents or absences or to cover planned absences.
M Legal can assist you with getting your affairs in order by preparing your Will and Power of Attorney to reflect your exact wishes and leave no room for uncertainty in the event of death, unexpected life occurrences or planned absences. Please book a consultation with our Will Solicitors today.