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  • Londi Gramelis

Why is your estate planning so important? Why is your Will not enough? Confused?

First Choice Family Lawyers are here to clear this up.

Let’s talk about Wills.

Let’s make it simple. We only have to turn on the nightly news or scroll through Facebook to see that accidents and sudden illnesses can happen to all of us – the young and old. Car accidents and sudden onset of illness does not discriminate. If only we had a dollar every time a grieving family came to us and said “she didn’t have a Will.”

A Will is a document which sets out your wishes as to the distribution of your assets once you have passed away and importantly, only kicks in once you have passed away!

There are two additional documents which are commonly prepared at the same time as your Will, which are known as Enduring Guardians and Enduring Powers of Attorneys. Unlike a Will, these documents cater to your needs once you have lost capacity to make decisions for yourself but you have not passed away.

Enduring Guardians and Power of Attorneys

An Enduring Guardian is a document which appoints people you trust, to legally have the power to make important decisions on your behalf in relation to your health and lifestyle in the event that you have not passed away, but a doctor has deemed you to have lost capacity to make decision for yourself.

Similarly, should a doctor deem you to have lost the capacity to make those decisions for yourself, and Enduring Power of Attorney is a document which appoints and enables someone you trust to legally have the power to make important decisions on your behalf in relation to your financial affairs. This can include the ability to withdraw from your bank accounts and apply your funds to meet your medical needs or day to day living expenses.

You can also empower your Attorney to utilise your funds for the benefit of another person, commonly your children who are under eighteen, so that you can be assured that should you lose the capacity to manage your financial affairs, your children will still be cared and provided for.

Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that these documents are only for the elderly. We know that through the news and media, now more than ever in this COVID-19 pandemic, that we can be struck down at any time by an unexpected illness that takes away our capacity to make our own decisions. By appointing your Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian, you can have invaluable peace of mind knowing that those decisions will be made by people that you know and trust.

Who can I appoint?

Essentially, we recommend someone who you can not only trust, but who you would feel comfortable dealing with your financial affairs or, knowing your own personal wishes in relation to your healthcare. We recommend someone you have known for a long period of time such as your spouse, a close family member such as a brother or sister, your parents, any adult child or children or a very close friend.

They will also need to be comfortable to take on the role and accept their appointment, so it would be ideal for you to speak with them about your wishes prior to arranging this with your lawyer, who will then explain in detail, this role and their obligations and responsibilities to you.

Londi Gramelis and her experienced and friendly team at First Choice Family Lawyers, located in Beverly Hills, will help you understand this process and guide you with compassion and professionalism.

Call us today on (02) 9579 5555 to make a booking for a telephone conference or zoom conference

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