Wills, Estates and Power of Attorney
Planning and protection
For more than 35 years Bennett Carroll have been offering professional and practical advice to ensure that you obtain the most appropriate planning and protection for you and your family.
We understand the multiplicity of family relationships and complex business structures, and therefore are able to deal sensitively with client's concerns. We make a point of ensuring all of our client's expectations are meet. We can help with:
- Preparation of Wills
- Testamentary Trusts
- Powers of Attorney
- Probate Administration of Estates
- Court Applications to prove improperly witnessed or defective wills
- Claims against Estates
- Estate Planning
- Family Trusts
- Retirement Village Documentation
- Guardianship and Administration
- Tribunal Matters
Why are wills important?
These legal documents are important as they protect your interests in the event that you lose the ability to make your own decisions and when you pass away. They ensure that your wishes are fulfilled both for yourself (in the case of a Power of Attorney and for an Advanced Health Directive) and for your loved ones - in the instance where you pass away.
A Will is a legal document which ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you die. Your Will can cover all your assets such as your home, land, car, shares, bank accounts, insurance policies and personal items such as jewellery and family photographs. Essentially, through your Will, you can give to anyone anything that you own.
It is essential to have a Will. If you pass away without a Will, what is called the law of intestacy will take affect. This law means that you loved ones will not be allocated property in the way you had perhaps had in mind. Preparation of a Will is quite a simple process. However, if it is not prepared correctly it will not be valid and it will therefore not be recognised. That is why you should have a Solicitor prepare your Will.
A Will can be changed at any time you wish and the making of a new Will makes any previous Will you may have had void. When you have prepared your Will you can keep it yourself, however it is better to keep it in a safe place such as at a Solicitors' office. You are of course entitled to a copy of your Will.
Finally, on the subject of Wills, there are a number of important issues concerning Wills that need to be outlined
The Executor is the person who will administer your estate. In simple terms - who will distribute your property in accord accordance with your request?
Your Beneficiaries are those people who will receive the property in your Will. You can make special bequests in your Will such as particular items of jewellery or family heirlooms. You can also leave some or all of your property to charity.
You can intentionally omit a relative or a friend from your Will and give the reason why you do not wish for them to receive any of your property. Finally, you can use your Will to detail how you wish to be buried and how you wish your funeral arrangements to be conducted.
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document authorising another person to act on your behalf in relation to your financial and personal health matters. This person can be a trusted friend, spouse, partner or relative. It is a method of allowing someone to handle your affairs if you go overseas, take an extended holiday, suffer from poor health or reach an age when you need greater assistance.
There are some important factors to consider when making a Power of Attorney. You may appoint up to four attorneys and the people you appoint must be over 18 years of age. They must not be your health care provider or your paid carer and must not be bankrupt.
Importantly, some examples of the powers that a Power of Attorney will have if they were nominated to act on health matters include: whether to diagnose, maintain or treat a person; and, whether to administer first aid treatment. However, such a person cannot affect your basic rights such as deciding whether or not to withhold life support.
Finally, it is important that all the legal requirements of a Power of Attorney are satisfied. Powers of Attorney can be prepared and registered by you, but it is much safer to get a Solicitor to prepare and register such a document.
An Advanced Health Directive sets out your wishes and directions in regards to certain treatment that could be provided to you if, for whatever reason, you are unable to communicate your wishes.
In an Advanced Health Directive you may wish to detail certain religious considerations with respect to your treatment, what people you want contacted when you get sick and can also make general comments such as
"I value life, but not under all conditions. I consider dignity and qualify of life to be more important than mere existence".
When making an Advanced Health Directive it is a requirement that a doctor explains to you the consequences and effects of the document and also must sign the document. It is important to make your regular doctor, the nursing staff and any family and friends aware of an Advanced Health Directive to ensure you wishes are carried out.
Wills and Estate Planning videos
Do You Need A Will?