In our life time we all manage to establish something whether it be a property, a business or simply even savings, we still have interests that we would like to see protected. The easiest way to do so is to make sure you have a valid Will. Your Will is one of the most valuable legal documents you’ll create.
Your Will sets out your wishes for how your affairs are to be managed after you are gone. A Will provides for the executors who are nominated by yourself to carry out wishes that you specify. These can be things such as whom you would like to provide for and the guardians of your children if anything was to happen to you and your partner.
In most cases people don’t get a Will because they are busy with day to day priorities rather than planning for the future. At the worst, dying without a Will results in the law determining how your estate is divided up and this could leave your family facing lengthy court action to deal with your assets.
Wills are important but they only take effect after you die. What do you do if you want someone to help you look after your affairs while you are still alive and your health deteriorates or if you go overseas or are otherwise unable to handle your own affairs? A power of attorney gives someone (the attorney) the authority to act legally on your behalf to the extent specified in the power of attorney.
There are two main types of powers of attorney: “ordinary powers” and “enduring powers”. Ordinary powers are often used for temporary purposes for example, if you’re going overseas and want someone to pay your bills. Ordinary powers are only valid while the donor has mental capacity. Enduring powers are recommended for long term protection. Enduring powers of attorney can relate to property or your personal care and welfare. The donor can elect when the enduring power of attorney for property comes into effect whereas enduring powers for personal care and welfare only come into effect when the donor loses mental capacity.
A good time to arrange powers of attorney is when you are making your Will, especially as an attorney may have to make decisions affecting property dealt with in your Will. Like a will, a power of attorney can be revoked, replaced or varied by you at any time before you become mentally incapable. This should be done in writing and be properly signed and witnessed while the donor still has mental capacity.
Contact the team at Arnet Law for more information on wills and enduring powers of attorney.