Millions of Australians live with chronic illness or disabling injury. Many more will develop progressive and degenerating diseases of the mind and body. With so many facing life with such severe challenges, smart estate planning can make the difference between maximising control over your life or falling victim to it.
How should they plan their estate to maximise their freedom, independence & quality of life?
What impact will your chronic illness have upon your health & mobility, your capacity & cognitive functioning? How might this change over time? How do you protect yourself from its effects?
Each chronic illness, whether dementia or senility, Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or ALS, diabetes or cancer – has its own unique implications for planning. One-size-fits-all generic assumptions can be detrimental to you and your loved ones.
You should consult a lawyer who specialises in estate planning in Adelaide, preferably one with experience in dealing with the special needs of disabled & incapacitated people.
Your lawyer will discuss with you a variety of legal documents. These may include Enduring Powers of Attorney, and how they may be tailored to address your concerns.
Other documents may include Medical Powers of Attorney (sometimes called living wills or health proxies), Advanced Directives, and Discretionary Trusts.
Your lawyer can draft legal documents to protect you in the context of your chronic illness, and to address the anticipated course of your illness.
As with all protection mechanisms, estate planning documents must be put in place before the disaster strikes. If you put this off until your disease progresses, it may be too late. Once a person has lost their capacity due to a progressive illness, it is very unlikely that they will regain it. And once capacity has been lost, many estate planning options will be forever lost to you.
Don’t leave it too late to make an integrated estate plan.
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.
SPECIAL REPORT “Special Disability Trusts in South Australia”
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