The Family Law Specialists
Wills & Estates
Power of Attorney
It is widely recognised by our society that making a Will is an extremely important task that one should undertake in their lifetime however the importance of appointing powers of attorney is generally not well understood and simply overlooked.
Powers of attorney allows you to nominate a person that would handle your financial affairs on your behalf in the event that you are not able to. Powers of attorney can be appointed in a variety of circumstances, for example:
- If you are looking to travel overseas or interstate for extended periods of time;
- If you lose capacity to make financial decisions; and/or
- If you would like someone else to handle your financial affairs in order to reduce the stress and the burden associated with handing financial paperwork.
Who should I nominate to act as my power of attorney?
It is important that a person who is nominated to act as your power of attorney is someone whom you can trust and who shares similar beliefs to you. The nominated power of attorney does not need to hold any formal qualifications and can be a family member.
Ideally two powers of attorney should be nominated, the primary power of attorney and a substitute power of attorney. In the event that the primary power of attorney is not willing or able to act on your behalf when required, the substitute power of attorney will still be able to act on your behalf in relation to your financial affairs.
The next step after you have made the decision about your nominated power of attorney is to ensure that the documents are correctly completed Our team of solicitors are able to provide expert advice in this area ensuring that the documents are valid and can be relied upon when required. Contact us to book your appointment.
Statistics show that currently at least 45% of the population in Australia does not have a valid Will. A Will is a written document, which clearly stipulates how you wish for your property to be distributed and disposed of after your death. In your Will you can nominate whom you wish to leave certain property to as well as detail the particular assets that you wish to leave to a specific person.
Having a validly executed and up to date Will is extremely important, as it will ensure that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes. For a Will to be valid it must comply with the following criteria:
- The person making the Will must be 18 years of age unless that person is married;
- The Will must be in writing;
- The Will must be signed by the person making the Will and must be witnessed by at least two other people; and
- The person making the Will must have testamentary capacity.
Who should I nominate as the Executor?
In your Will, you must nominate an executor. The executor is a person who after your death will be responsible for distributing the estate, payment of debts, protecting assets, applying to the Supreme Court for a grant of probate and in certain circumstances making funeral arrangements.
Many people nominate their spouse, children or close relatives as the executor of their Will. If you do not have a close family member or friend to nominate as the executor then you may wish to nominate your lawyer.
Where should I store my Will?
A Will can only be used in carrying out your wishes if it can be located. Therefore once you execute your Will you should store the document in a safe place and advise your family members or those close to you where it is stored. Our office can store your Will in safe custody where it can be easily accessible if and when it is required.
What happens if I die without leaving a Will?
If you die without leaving a Will then “you die intestate”, this means that your wishes cannot be upheld and your assets will be distributed according to the law. Therefore, dying without a Will may lead to unnecessary financial strain and hardship as well as emotional stress for your family members who are left behind.
You must be aware that intestacy can also occur in a situation where you have a Will but your Will is not validly executed. A Will is considered invalid if it does not meet the necessary requirements outlined by the law. it is extremely important to have your Will drafted by a qualified professional.
Our team here at Soden Legal are highly experienced in the drafting of Wills and we can ensure that your Will meets all the formal requirements in order to have your testamentary wishes recorded correctly.
Contact us to discuss how we can help you.