As we carry on through life, it can be challenging to think about passing and leaving our loved ones behind. But if you don’t prepare in fear of the unknown, you can leave them without a plan for once you’re gone or decisions you’d like made if you become unable to make them yourself.
In this complete guide to estate planning NSW, we explain an enduring power of attorney, enduring power of guardianship and advance care planning to help you make decisions around finances, medical and health care.
Start with a Will
A Will is a legally binding document that outlines how you want your assets distributed when you die. If you die without leaving a Will, then you die intestate. Although different laws apply in this scenario depending on where you live, your assets are handles without considering any wishes that you might have had.
In the past, creating a Will was more complicated than not making one, but now with online Will builders, it’s easier than ever before. To get started, consider your assets, witnesses that will sign to verify the Will and someone to be the Will’s Executor. Their job will be to pay any debts and distribute your assets to the beneficiaries listed.
Once you’ve created your Will, the next step in planning your estate is appointing someone to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you become incapable. The person to make these decisions on your behalf is a Power of Attorney.
Enduring Power of Attorney in NSW
A legal document that allows you to appoint someone to manage financial and legal decisions on your behalf. Once created, this document continues even if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. Your Power of Attorney in NSW can be a family member, close friend, NSW Trustee & Guardian or a trustee organisation.
The Enduring Power of Attorney that you choose is legally required to act in your best interests. So it’s crucial to select a person who can deal with financial planning, respect your views, and keep their finances and money separate from yours and respects your right to confidentiality.
In NSW, your Power of Attorney can only make financial and legal decisions and can handle almost any finance-related task, including:
- Signing legally binding documents
- Operating bank accounts
- Paying bills
- Buying and selling real estate
- Managing investments
Medical and Health Care Decisions
After appointing someone to make financial decisions, you need to appoint someone to make medical and health care decisions. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions about where and how they live, including what medical treatment they receive. Still, sometimes an injury or illness can leave you unable to make your own decisions.
Enduring Power of Guardianship NSW
An Enduring Guardian is a person you legally appoint to make decisions about your health and lifestyle if you can’t make these decisions yourself. The role of the Enduring Guardian only starts when you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
The types of decisions that an Enduring Power of Guardianship makes is:
- Where you live and the services you might receive.
- Healthcare and medical treatment you receive.
Enduring Guardians can’t make decisions about your money, who you vote for, marriage, anything that’s against the law, making or changing your Will and making or changing your Advanced Care Directive.
Advance Care Plan in NSW
An Advance Care Directive, also known as a living Will, formalises your advance care plan. The directive will include your specific requirements for future health care should you become incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions.
It contains treatments you would accept or refuse, values around the quality of life you would wish to have and preferences that the Enduring Guardian should consider when making decisions on your behalf.
In NSW, there are two ways you can record your choices for future medical care, which include appointing an Enduring Guardian and completing an Advance Care Directive. The Advance Care Directive is an essential part of advance care planning as it’s impossible to know what will happen in the future regarding your health, and you might have firm ideas about how you want to live the rest of your life.
Estate Planning in NSW: What’s next?
Luckily, planning your estate doesn’t have to be complicated. After creating your Will and choosing your Power of Attorney, keep a copy in a safe place and give another to a trusted person.
If you’re looking to start by creating your Will, then click here. And if you’re ready to start planning your estate, then check out our estate planning guide.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice.