Estate planning is an important aspect of providing protection and support for yourself and for your family if something ever happens to you. The process involves setting up legal documents which provide clear instructions to manage your legal, health and financial affairs if you become incapacitated from an accident or illness, or when you pass away.
A complete estate plan generally consists of three legal documents – an Enduring Power of Attorney, an Enduring Guardianship, and a Will. These are separate documents, each covering a distinct and important aspect of your care and estate.
Enduring Power of Attorney
If you are incapacitated by an accident or illness and are unable to make decisions, the Enduring Power of Attorney document names a trusted individual (such as a spouse or loved one) or organisation (such as the Public Trustee), to manage your financial affairs. This person is called your Attorney. Without this document, the control of your affairs is not automatically assigned to your spouse or loved ones, and therefore they may be left without the ability to access your finances or even sell jointly owned assets.
An Enduring Guardianship document appoints someone to make personal and medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated and lose the ability to make your own decisions.This person is called your Guardian. This document is especially important if you have specific wishes about your medical care and who can make decisions on your behalf. You may also want to consider preparing an Advanced care directive which states your wishes for your future healthcare and medical treatment.
When you pass away, your Will specifies how you would like your assets and property divided. As part of your Will, you need to nominate a trustworthy individual or organisation to be responsible for carrying out the wishes in your Will, such as selling property and distributing assets. This person is called your Executor.
Protect yourself and your loved ones
Although Estate Planning involves thinking about situations many of us would prefer not to consider, it can also provide peace of mind, knowing that you have protected your loved ones from the burden of dealing with courts or tribunals and that your estate and affairs will be managed in accordance with your wishes.
At the Public Trustee we can assist you in preparing Estate planning documents such as an Enduring Power of Attorney, an Enduring Guardianship and a Will.
You can select family members or friends to be your Executor or Attorney. If you are concerned about asking your family or friends to take on these roles or feel it would be a burden to them, you can appoint the Public Trustee as your Attorney and/or Executor. If you appoint the Public Trustee we will take care of managing your affairs or administering your estate with assistance from our experts in investments, financial planning, property management, taxation and legal affairs.