It is important that each individual, particularly every person over the age of 18 has a Will and Power of Attorney which ensures that your assets are always managed in a way that you prefer or require.
Types of Powers of Attorney: Enduring vs General
An Enduring Power of Attorney enables you to grant another person (the attorney) the power to manage your financial matters and/or health requirements in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself as a result of an accident or illness. However, the power to manage financial matters can commence from the date you make the power.
A General Power of Attorney, on the other hand, involves you formally giving someone else the power to make financial decisions on your behalf for a specific period/event. This type of Power of Attorney is commonly used by individuals who travel extensively, as they are able to nominate a person to deal with financial matters of either a personal or professional nature whilst the individual is away. This type of Power does not operate after, or if you become no longer able to make or communicate your decisions.
All powers of attorney cease to have any effect upon your death.
A Will allows you to determine where or to whom your assets are to be distributed upon your death, and in so doing, preserves and protects the assets that you have spent a lifetime accumulating.
A Will is a document that contains your instructions and wishes on how you would like your assets to be dealt with or distributed when you are no longer here. A Will can also provide directions on legal guardianship for your children.
If you do not have a Will, your estate is deemed as ‘intestate’ under the Queensland succession laws. This means that, upon your death, a person or organisation is appointed to act as an administrator of your estate and who will have the final say in how your property is dealt with or distributed. That administrator is a person appointed in accordance with the rules set out in the Succession Act 1981 (QLD) and may be neither a family member nor a friend who may not understand your family’s dynamic to be able to deal with your assets appropriately.
Instead, an administrator will divide and allocate your estate in accordance with a set formula set out in the Succession Act 1981 (QLD) amongst your surviving relatives. If you have no surviving relatives, your assets will become government property.
It is for these reasons we recommend that all individuals over the age of 18, notwithstanding the size of your estate or the amount of assets you possess, prepare a Will to ensure that your estate is dealt with as you wish and require upon your death.
At Nicholsons Solicitors, we provide legal assistance to families and individuals in estate planning to provide peace of mind that your wishes and loved ones are protected from now and into the future. Please feel free to contact Briony Foxe on 07 3226 3968 to discuss how we can assist you in planning your estate.