Queensland Wills Week is coming 23 - 29 August 2021
Would your family know what you want and who you’d like to take care of you, at a time when you are no longer able to tell them?
Making your wishes known by creating or updating your Will, setting up an enduring power of attorney and making an Advance Health Directive, is important to ensure you have the necessary plans in place for your future.
Let’s face it, advance life planning is not a topic we like to talk about. It is often considered something needed only by people in their later years of life. But whether you have a lot to leave behind or very little, everybody over the age of 18 needs to make sure they have a valid, up-to-date Will and have plans in place for their future care.
Queensland Wills Week is the Public Trustee’s annual community education program to ensure that people are reminded about these important life plans.
Make your Will
What is a Will and why do I need one?
A Will is a legal document that outlines your wishes including how you would like your assets distributed and who you would like them to go to. You can also name who you would like to distribute your estate, known as your executor.
Whether you have many assets or just a few, everyone over the age of 18 should make a Will. Even if you’ve only just started work, you may end up with more assets than you think. For example, your superannuation may have a life insurance policy attached to it.
If you die without a Will (known as dying intestate) your estate is distributed in line with Part 3 of the Succession Act 1981, and your estate may not be distributed the way you would have chosen. Knowing and supporting your wishes can ease the burden for your loved ones, reduce conflict and potentially save them from costly court procedures.
How do I make a Will?
Making your Will is easy:
- Make an appointment with your solicitor/succession law practitioners or the Public Trustee
- Make a list of all your assets and heirlooms
- Ensure you have appropriate ID
- Meet with your Will maker to make your Will
- Talk to your family about the arrangements you have made and where your Will is kept
We recommend everybody seeks professional advice to make an informed decision about their individual circumstances. This can be done through a local solicitor, a legal firm specialising in succession law or the Public Trustee.
Make your Enduring Power of Attorney
Who will make decisions for you if you can’t?
A serious illness, disability, or an accident can happen at any time. Losing capacity can be temporary or permanent and doesn’t just happen to people who are ageing - therefore it is important to plan for your future and know who you can trust to make decisions for you.
What is an Enduring power of attorney?
Enduring powers of attorney are legal documents that state who you prefer to manage your affairs should an event occur where you can no longer make those decisions. Your authorised attorney can manage your personal, health, business and legal affairs, including paying bills and signing documents on your behalf.
What does an attorney for financial matters take care of?
- Paying your bills; rent, gas, electricity etc.
- Managing your investments
- Preparing your tax returns
What can an attorney for personal and health matters take care of?
- Where you live
- Who you live with
- Your recreational activities
- Certain medical decisions, treatment options and medicines
Have the conversation with your loved ones
Make sure your loved ones understand your wishes
Once you’ve made your Will and Enduring Power of Attorney it’s important to have a conversation with your loved ones to ensure they understand your wishes for:
- Funeral arrangements - including where and how you want to be buried
- Aged care - do you want to be cared for in your home or in an aged care facility?
- End of life - do you feel strongly about whether or not you want to receive life-sustaining measures to prolong your life.
- About your Will and what arrangements you want to happen with the distribution of your financial assets. Understanding what you want helps families to support your wishes during a time of grief and loss.
To provide specific directions for particular health matters, especially around end of life, you should make an Advance Health Directive with your doctor.
What is an Advance Health Directive?
An Advance Health Directive is a document that outlines your wishes or views about the quality of life that would be acceptable to you in the event you were to have a severe accident or illness with no reasonable prospect for recovery.
Before you put a plan in place that determines your future health care, it is essential to consider and reflect on what is important to you and discuss it with your family or loved ones.