Here are the documents you may need to obtain:
Enduring Power of Attorney
This document gives another person power (your agent) to handle your finances in your absence. This may include paying your bills, negotiating a lease, dealing with employees, contractors & government departments, or working with your bank. You can give your agent power immediately or only upon your incapacity.
Medical Power of Attorney
Everyone age 18 and over should have this document. It names & empowers the person you want to make medical decisions for you, if you cannot do it for yourself. Do yourself & your loved ones a BIG favour, and create this now.
Your Will says who you want to receive your assets after you die, who should handle your affairs upon your passing, and who you want to be a guardian for your children. This must be formally executed to be valid, typically with 2 witnesses, depending upon state law. Everyone should have a Will.
Some of you may need other documents, such as discretionary trusts, property agreements, co-habitation agreements, pre-nuptial agreements, irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, superannuation trusts or life insurance trusts.
Don’t draft these documents yourself
Estate planning is a specialised field, and doing it properly requires considerable care and preparation. Well-crafted estate-planning documents can clarify how things are managed if someone is incapacitated or dies.
To develop a proper fully-integrated estate plan, a proper analysis of family objectives, net worth, and income needs is necessary, so that the correct estate planning tools can be chosen. This really needs to be done by a lawyer specialising in estate planning in Adelaide, probably in combination with other specialist advisers regarding accounting, financial planning, insurance and funerals. Some people worry about the cost, but it is really an excellent investment in your family’s future harmony, because without it, things can get a lot more expensive if things get legally out of control. Long, protracted legal battles can tear families apart, especially if there are already some family tensions.
When considering the cost of your estate plan, you should have regard to factors such as the complexity of your situation, the amount of money at stake, your tolerance for dealing with legal issues, and your state law. If you have minor children, children with special needs, particular opinions about what you want to have happen, a solid net worth, extensive real estate, and/or a rapidly growing business, you really need to consult with a lawyer who specialises in estate planning, who can make sure your documents are up to date, tailored for the law of your state and/or country, and are property executed.
Death and taxes (and illness) may be unavoidable … but they don’t have to ruin your family or your business. Make the effort to protect the people you really care about. Call Genders & Partners to create a fully integrated Estate Plan. And do it NOW … before it is too late.
Rod Genders is a senior Australian lawyer specialising in accident compensation and estate planning in Adelaide. His boutique specialist law firm is one of the oldest and most respected in Australia – visit it at www.genders.com.au . 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/adelaide-lawyer-blog.