Wills and Estates
Whilst it can be unnerving and uncomfortable to think about dying, becoming seriously ill or losing mental capacity, accidents can happen at any time and death is, unfortunately inevitable.
We can assist you with all the necessary legal requirements needed to ensure that your wishes are documented and carried out.
We can also help with setting up your legal and medical Power of Attorney as well as appointing an appropriate person or people who can make decisions on your behalf.
PREPARATION OF YOUR WILL
A Will is a legal document that sets out how you want your things to be distributed when you die, as well as any other instructions you may have, such as whom you wish to appoint as guardian for minor children, donations you wish to make to charities, specific gift bequests and any expressed wishes relating to your funeral arrangements.
If you die without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to a set legal formula which will not necessarily reflect your intentions and could leave certain loved ones with nothing or less than you desired. It also causes delay, complications and additional costs for those you leave behind. To ensure that your loved ones are provided for adequately on your passing it is essential to ensure you have a Will that is up-to-date, clear and valid. This will provide important protection to your assets and ensure that they are distributed in accordance with your wishes.
ADVANCE CARE DIRECTIVES & MEDICAL TREATMENT DECISION MAKER
There may come a time when we lose capacity to make our own medical decisions. To plan ahead and ensure that decisions are made for you in accordance with your wishes, you can create an Advance Care Directive, which may be either instructional or values based.
An instructional directive sets out a person’s binding instructions in relation to future medical treatment that they consent to or refuse. For example, if you choose not to have chemotherapy this is a binding directive and the instructions protect your choice, even when you do not have the decision-making capacity to indicate this.
Alternatively, a values directive outlines a person’s preferences and values in relation to medical treatment options that work to guide your medical decision maker. This may include, for example, a preference for quality of life over length of life.
You can also appoint a Medical Treatment Decision Maker to make decisions on your behalf once you lose capacity. When there is no instructional directive in place, your health practitioners will need the consent of your Medical Treatment Decision Maker to provide any treatment to you, other than in circumstances of emergency.
ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY
You can also plan for your future by making an Enduring Power of Attorney in which you appoint a person you trust, such as a family member or friend as your ‘attorney’. If you wish, you can appoint two persons as your attorney and elect to have them make decisions either jointly or severally.
Your attorney will be able to make important financial and/or personal decisions on your behalf. For example, they may have the power to make decisions related to your financial and property matters such as payment of bills. Your attorney may also have power over your personal lifestyle matters, such as where and with whom you live. Your attorney’s powers can commence immediately, when you cease to have decision-making capacity or at some other elected time or circumstance.
Probate is a legal step that is required before a person’s estate can be administered or distributed to the beneficiaries following their death. Without it, an executor does not have authority to administer or distribute the estate. The Court will issue a document that is officially called a Grant of Representation. It is important to act quickly in seeking Probate to reduce the risk to the estate, such as fraudulent access to bank accounts.
The types of grant that may be sought include:
- A grant of probate – where the deceased has a will appointing an executor who is willing and able to apply for probate.
- A grant of letters of administration with the will annexed – where the deceased has a will but the executor appointed by the will is unwilling or unable to apply for probate and approval is sought for the Court to appoint someone else.
- A grant of letters of administration on an intestacy – where the deceased does not have a will and approval is sought from the Court to appoint someone, usually their spouse, parent or child.
- A special grant – for example, a grant on behalf of a minor executor may be sought.
We are happy to store your important documents in our fire-proof safe, free of charge.
Footner Wren Legal - acting on the rights and needs of our clients to achieve the best results possible.
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