In Queensland, estate planning refers to the overarching term used for making decisions concerning preparing a Will and preparing an Enduring Power of Attorney.
Before you start planning an estate, you need to build a Will, a legal document that ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you die. Your Will does not include life insurance and superannuation.
Dying without a Will, also known as dying intestate, means the state of Queensland distributes your assets according to the rules and regulations set down by the law of intestacy.
In addition to your Will, you can legally appoint someone you trust (friend or relative) to handle your affairs on your behalf by signing an enduring power of attorney. While a Will operates after you pass, enduring power of attorney operates while you’re alive.
A general power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to make decisions about financial matters for you while you can make those decisions. You select an attorney for a specific event or period when you can still decide on financial matters.
According to the Queensland Government website, enduring power of attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions about personal matters, including health and financial matters, on your behalf. However, someone who is an attorney for health matters can only make those decisions on your behalf once you no longer have the capacity.
To appoint someone to be your enduring power of attorney in Queensland, you must be 18 years of age or older and can understand the document you are signing and the power it gives.
In the state of Queensland, if you don’t feel confident that you have anyone suitable in your life to act on your behalf, you can appoint a public guardian. You can also select a public trustee of Queensland as your attorney for financial matters.
You have the right to make legally recognised decisions about your life, including health care, support services, where you live and how you decide to live your life. However, under Queensland’s guardianship system, someone else can give legal authority on your behalf if you no longer have the capacity to make those decisions yourself.
Queensland’s guardianship system protects the rights and interests of adults who have impaired capacity to make their own decisions. The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal can appoint people as guardians or administrators and make a statement about an adult’s capacity.
Guardians that QCAT appoints can make decisions about personal matters for adults with impaired decision-making capacity. These personal matters include health care. Health matters include medical treatments, procedures and services.
Typically, decisions about health care are about consent to or refusing treatment. But, unlike enduring power of attorney, guardians in Queensland can’t make financial, property, or personal decisions.
Suppose in the future you are unable to make decisions about your health care. In that case, an advance health directive gives directions about your future health care, outlines your wishes about the treatment you want and appoints someone to make decisions about your health care on your behalf.
The best time to start planning your advance health directive is now before any urgent medical conditions arise. However, you can still make one when you’re about to be admitted to the hospital, or your known medical condition is likely to affect your decision-making capacity.
Before you start completing your advance health directive, you should consider your views, wishes and preferences for your future health care and if you plan to appoint an attorney, who you will choose.
Estate planning is important in ensuring your wishes are understood even after you cannot voice them. So 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 complete estate planning guide services.
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.