Living Wills are important legal documents which every adult Australian should create.
What are Living Wills?
Living Wills are legal documents such as powers of attorney and advance directives.
These important documents allow you to express your wishes and instructions, or to appoint one or more trusted people as your agents to make decisions on your behalf, for when you cannot do so for yourself.
In South Australia, there are four legally recognised Living Wills. The first one is the Enduring Power of Attorney where you appoint a trusted person to make legal and financial decisions for you and to sign legal documents on your behalf. The second is a Medical Power of Attorney to appoint an agent to make health care decisions for you. Third is an Enduring Power of Guardianship to appoint a person to act as your guardian in the event that you lose your ability to make accommodation and lifestyle decisions in your own best interests.
Fourth is an Anticipatory Directive which allows you to tell doctors and hospitals in advance what sort of medical treatment you want at the end of your life. You might not want to be kept alive on support systems if there is no hope of a recovery to a normal life. You might not want your life to be artificially prolonged in the event of a terminal illness. It spares your loved ones from having to make stressful decisions in a crisis.
Myths and misconceptions prevent some people from understanding this area of law. Here are 3 common myths about Living Wills and the truth behind them.
Truth 1: Living Wills are not just for the sick.
It is vital to have your Living Wills prepared while you are still well and before it is too late.
Like insurance, you can’t apply for protection after the disaster has struck.
Don’t wait too late.
Truth 2: Living Wills are not only for the elderly.
Accidents and illnesses can happen at any time to any one of any age.
Every adult of sound mind should have Living Wills to set out their wishes and directions in advance.
Truth 3: Living Wills are not only for the rich.
If you lock your front door when you leave your house, then you have something worth protecting
Every adult Australian should create Living Wills.
Living Wills can help you direct what you want to happen to your assets, health and accommodation in case you lose the ability to make those decisions for yourself later in life.
Rod Genders is a senior Australian lawyer specialising in trusts, Wills and estate planning, accident compensation, and 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. Rod is also a prolific author and speaker. Some of his articles and books on Wills, Probate, Trusts, Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Retirement Planning may be found at www.genders.com.au.
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Wills and Estate Planning Adelaide: Debunking 3 Common Myths About Living Wills In Adelaide