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Powers of Attorney die with their owners

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In the UK recently a person has been fined the equivalent of many thousands of dollars for using an expired power of attorney to withdraw money from the principal’s bank account after her death, even though he acted with the consent of her sole beneficiary (her son).

The agent was a close friend of the deceased, and of her only son. Although aware of her death, over the subsequent weeks he made three withdrawals from her personal bank accounts.

Some of this money went towards funding a property transaction which had been specifically authorised by the deceased before her death.

Other funds were either used for legitimate and authorised estate expenses, or were not used at all and later returned to the estate account.

Estate Planning for Problem Children in SA

Estate Planning for Problem Children in SA

Estate Planning for Problem Children

An increasing number of Baby Boomer parents are concerned about leaving unconditional bequests in their Wills to their grown-up children, for fear that they will squander their inheritance.

As parents we love our children and want them to receive the benefit from our hard work after we’re gone.

However, some kids just seem to attract hard luck and trouble, don’t they?  They can be immature, have difficulty holding a job, or are just poor money managers. Some develop a bad and expensive habit, like gambling, drugs or alcohol, while others suffer mental illness.

Then there are the risky-business kids, who constantly fear the door-knock from the bailiffs because they run their businesses on the knife-edge of bankruptcy and litigation.

Advance Care Directives in South Australia

Advance Care Directives in South Australia

Since 1st July 2014 this new style of document in South Australia has replaced the older documents known as Medical Power of Attorney, Enduring Power of Guardianship and Natural Death Anticipatory Directive.

This Advance Care Directive document allows you to appoint one or more persons to act as your Substitute Decision Maker, to make decisions for you about your medical & health care treatment and accommodation issues if you’re unable to do so for yourself. This can make all the difference between ensuring your wishes are met in very stressful times, and having treatment and care almost forced upon you against your wishes.

An Advance Care Directive is a legal form that allows people over the age of 18 years to state their wishes, preferences and instructions for future health care, end of life, living arrangements and personal matters and/or

An Advance Care Directive cannot be used to make financial decisions.  This requires a different document known as a Power of Attorney.

What are digital assets

Estate Planning must include Digital Assets

What are digital assetsHow many things in your life do you manage or store on your computer, tablet, smartphone or online? Like many people today you probably access photos, videos, music, e-books, blogs, movies, emails, conversations, social media, games, bank accounts, medical records, and even your identity – all online. All of these are called “digital assets” and they may be of financial or sentimental value to you and your family. They can be just as precious and important as physical assets that you can touch. They should be part of your general planning for what happens when you die or if at any time you are unable to manage your own affairs.

Why are Digital Assets important?

Within just a few years, digital assets have become important in many areas of our lives. We must plan for what happens to our digital assets on death or when we lose mental capacity, for a number of reasons:

Financial Value; such as PayPal accounts, virtual bank accounts, online gaming accounts; bitcoin; photographs; popular domain names or online businesses;

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Retirement age raised to 70

https://www.genders.com.au/retirement-age-raised-to-70/

For a long time the official retirement age in Australia was 65 for men and 60 for women.

This was gradually changed to be 65 for everyone. Then the Labor Government increased it to 67 and in April 2014 the Federal Liberal Treasurer Joe Hockey announced the Government’s intention to increase the age of eligibility for the aged pension to 70.

The rationale behind this is that we are living longer on average, and the social security system cannot sustain the current level of payments for a longer period, especially with relatively fewer Australians remaining in the workforce.

estate-planning-tips-for-caring-for-the-kids-after-separation-or-divorce-in-australia

Estate Planning Tips For Caring for the Kids After Separation or Divorce in Australia

estate-planning-tips-for-caring-for-the-kids-after-separation-or-divorce-in-australia

When you are going through a separation, you need to update your estate planning documents to protect yourself, your children & family and your assets. Here are some important matters to consider after a relationship breakup.

Who Looks After Your Kids if You Cannot

  1. There may come a time when an unmarried, separated or divorced parent is unable, owing to physical or mental incapacity, to take care of his or her minor children. If a parent dies, the minor children will need a guardian. In these circumstances, those caring for the children will need direction—as will the Courts. By writing and executing a Will that includes instructions on guardianship, a parent may select someone with the legal authority to act for minor children and assume control over the assets of the children.

Estate Planning Documents You Need to Update After Separation or Divorce in Australia

Estate Planning Documents You Need to Update After Separation or Divorce in Australia

Estate Planning Documents You Need to Update After Separation or Divorce in Australia

When you are going through a separation, you need to update your estate planning documents to protect yourself, your children & family and your assets. Here are some important matters to consider after a relationship breakup.

Other Documents in Addition to Your Will

  1. After separating, you should create a new Will. You should also review your powers of attorney, advance directives, trusts, proxy, delegation, etc. You may well need to formally revoke these important legal documents, so that your ‘ex’ cannot continue to control aspects of your life. However to be valid, these ‘revocation’ documents must be communicated to the individuals whom you had previously appointed, so these are not as confidential as the Will.

what-happens-if-you-die-without-a-valid-will-after-separation-or-divorce-in-australia

What Happens if You Die Without a Valid Will After Separation or Divorce in Australia

what-happens-if-you-die-without-a-valid-will-after-separation-or-divorce-in-australia

When you are going through a separation, you need to update your estate planning documents to protect yourself, your children & family and your assets. Here are some important matters to consider after a relationship breakup.

Intestacy

  1. If you do not write a Will, the Government has already written one for you – but you might not like what it says.
  2. When you die without a valid Will, that is called ‘intestacy’. The law of the State where die will determine who gets what. Be careful. Not only does this law change from place to place, it also changes from time to time.
  3. In certain cases your assets might even go to the Government itself!

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

Winston Churchill famously said “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

As the oldest law firm in South Australia, and specialising in Trusts, Wills, Estate Planning and Administration of Deceased Estates, we frequently encounter examples of people failing to take the proper steps to create an estate plan that will work properly when the time comes. Some people allow their families to learn the hard way, and fail to shield their families from costly legal messes.

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Estate Planning – Caring for Elderly Parents

estate-planning-caring-for-elderly-parents

Since 1900, life expectancy for Australians has increased by over 30 years. The average life expectancy of a newborn girl used to be 51 years. Now it is 84 years. But how do we care for our elderly relatives once they begin to lose the ability to care for themselves?

Over the past 125 years there have been massive changes in our health and lifestyle. What Australians now die of, and the age at which they die, is very different to what it used to be. Up until 1932, infectious and parasitic diseases caused at least 10% of all deaths each year, with death rates from these diseases highest among the very young and very old. Improvements in living conditions, such as better water supplies, sewerage systems, food quality and health education, have led to overall lower death rates and longer life expectancy at all ages.