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.

who-gets-the-jewellery

Who gets the jewellery?

who-gets-the-jewellery

When administering a deceased estate, love and law can intersect in the context of grief, causing problems for those left behind. Small things can set-off major family feuds.

For most families, a desire for personal effects is less about what they are worth and more about their sentimental value. Medals, jewellery and personal items are often the subject of strong feelings.

People in grief can behave irrationally, and their high emotions can create powerful symbols out of ordinary objects – a grandfather’s watch, a necklace, the rings mother wore – and in their minds the items become confused with how much the deceased loved them, rather than the market value of the items in question.

Australian Supreme Court says DIY Wills are a curse

Australian Supreme Court says DIY Wills are a curse

Western Australian Supreme Court Master Craig Sanderson has publically stated in a 2014 judgment that “Homemade Wills are a curse,” and inevitably lead to protracted and expensive legal battles in family disputes involving substantial estates.

Master Sanderson said the legal issue around the proper determination of the deceased’s Will could have been avoided if he had “consulted a lawyer and signed off on a Will that reflected his wishes”.

Master Sanderson warned of the dangers of homemade Wills, saying there was no question that engaging a properly qualified and experienced lawyer to draft a Will was “money well spent”.

“But where, as here, the estate of the deceased is substantial, the Will is opaque and there is no agreement among the beneficiaries, the inevitable result is an expensive legal battle which is unlikely to satisfy everyone.”

This view is supported by Rod Genders, who is a senior Australian lawyer specialising in trusts, Wills and estate planning, accident compensation, probate and deceased estate administration in Adelaide and throughout South Australia. His boutique specialist law firm, which was founded on 1848, is one of the oldest and most respected in Australia.

A Guide for Beneficiaries of a Deceased Estate in South Australia | Genders and Partners

Challenges to a Will or Estate in South Australia

A Guide for Beneficiaries of a Deceased Estate in South Australia | Genders and Partners

Challenges to Wills are far less common than challenges to estates. A Will can be contested or challenged when it is alleged that the Will was:

  • executed under undue influence from others
  • executed when the testator lacked capacity to understand what he/she was doing
  • tampered-with or altered after it was signed
  • the meaning of the Will is unclear
  • a later Will has been made by the Deceased
  • incorrectly executed or otherwise invalid due to a failure to follow the correct formalities
  • since been revoked
  • procured via fraud

The 7 Deadly Sins of DIY Wills

The 7 Deadly Sins of DIY Wills

Trying to DIY the most important legal document in your life is a bad idea. This is a specialised area of law, and when you don’t know what you’re doing, it is very easy to make critical errors trying to do this yourself. Any mistakes you make won’t become apparent until you die, and it’s too late for you to fix them, so it will be your family who has the stress and cost of dealing with it all.

Here are 7 of the most common errors people make with DIY Wills:

  1. No Advice. While DIY Will-kits and online services might provide you with a document that looks like a Will, appearances can be deceptive.       What you are paying a lawyer for is the advice they provide you along with the Will. It is illegal for anyone other than a licensed lawyer to provide legal advice for a fee, whether that means answering questions or making planning suggestions for how to accomplish goals. So the companies that offer DIY Wills or kits or online documents are always careful to tell you that they are not giving you legal advice, and they ALWAYS recommend that you consult a lawyer if you have questions.

Mediating Settlement of Estate Disputes

Mediating Settlement of Estate Disputes sa

Like most developed countries, Australia’s population is ageing as a result of sustained low fertility and increasing life expectancy. This has resulted in proportionally fewer children in the population and a proportionally larger increase in those aged 65 and over.

Over the 20 years between 1994 and 2014, the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over increased from 11.8% to 14.7%. This group is projected to increase more rapidly over the next decade, as further cohorts of baby boomers turn 65.

In the 12 months to 30 June 2014, the number of people aged 65 years and over increased by 118,700 people, representing a 3.6% increase.

We are living longer and accumulating greater wealth.  This gives rise to the potential for more disputes arising on either incapacity or death.

Top 5 Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Will Kits

Top 5 Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Will Kits in SA

Top 5 Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Will Kits in SA

Creating a Will gives us the peace of mind that comes from knowing that our estate will be distributed according to our wishes. But the desire to avoid the expenses normally associated with Will preparation is tempting some people these days to consider using Do-It-Yourself Will Kits.

At first look, DIY Will kits might seem to be cheaper and save some time and travel involved in having a legal professional prepare a Will, BUT the savings in time and money could be illusory if there are even minor mistakes or unforeseen events that cause the Will to be invalid.

Remember: any mistakes you make will only become apparent after you’re dead, and it’s too late to fix them.

Determining the wishes of the deceased is a legal issue by its very nature, and consequently, if the Will is not properly prepared and executed, it could be invalidated or challenged, sometimes complicating things even worse than if there had been no Will at all.

Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

What is a testamentary guardian, and why do I need one for my children?

A testamentary guardian is an adult nominated in a parent’s Will to care for their minor children in case both parents die before the children turn 18.

When we have young children, we understand that if one parent dies, the other parent will automatically retain parental responsibility. But in case both parents die prematurely, each needs to nominate in their Will an alternate testamentary guardian for their minor children. Otherwise your children may end up in a home you wouldn’t choose for them, being parented in a way that’s not in accordance with your values.