Why a Will is only one piece of the estate planning puzzle

Why a Will is only one piece of the estate planning puzzle

More than 50% of Australian’s don’t have a Will or estate plan, let alone other important medical and life documentation in place. It may be daunting to consider another person to make a life-changing medical decision, to be guardian of your children or to be your Power of Attorney if you fall ill or become incapacitated. However, the unavoidable fact is, if you don’t think about these serious decisions now, your partner or children might be put in a situation where they are left guessing your wishes, causing extreme stress, chaos and uncertainty.

It is normal to forward plan in other aspects of our life, such as finances, insurances or superannuation to ensure we and our families are protected. Don’t skip planning for your life.

We believe something as important as estate planning should be easy, so we have developed a unique package called MyLife Documents™This unique offer allows you to prepare five essential estate planning legal documents easily, in one go, for a fixed price and under the consultation of an expert Wills & Estate Planning lawyer.

As I assure you in my book, The Australian Guide to Wills & Estate Planning, Wills and estate planning doesn’t have to be as daunting, labour intensive or expensive as you may think and the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Making plans now is the best way to ensure that your family and loved ones are looked after if anything should happen to you.

Blackburn Lawyers work with you over two consultations to prepare five vital documents:

1. A standard Will

A Will is a legal document that enables you to determine how your ‘estate’ is to be distributed after your death. This includes your money, property, shares, investments and possessions. While separate from your estate, you should also make decisions about how your superannuation is dealt with when you make your Will.

2. Enduring Power of Attorney (POA)

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to nominate one or more persons to act on your behalf for legal, financial and personal decisions. This can start when you decide and continues to be effective if you lose the ability to make your own decisions.

3. Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker

The appointment of a Medical Treatment Decision Maker is different to a POA, as they are tasked specifically with making medical decisions for you if you are ill or injured and unable to make them for yourself.

4. Advance Care Directive

In relation to your medical decisions, you are also able to prepare a second document called an Advance Care Directive which allows you to record your wishes regarding treatment and communicate them to your Medical Treatment Decision Maker so that they have an understanding of what is important to you.

5. Statement of Wishes

A Statement of Wishes is a separate document to your Will. A Statement of Wishes is not binding but can assist your executors when it comes time to administer your estate.

At Maurice Blackburn, we store your Statement of Wishes with your Will so that executors have everything they need to administer your estate.

Things that might be included in a Statement of Wishes:

  • music that you wish to be played at your funeral
  • who your pallbearers will be
  • who will scatter your ashes
  • other preferences around burial or cremation
  • the location of your assets so your executors may easily find them
  • who you would like notified about your death.
These five essential legal and medical documents work hand-in-hand to protect your loved ones in the event you are injured or incapacitated, or if you pass away. Failure to do so can create uncertainty and stress for family and friends, leaving them guessing your wishes.

In my experience, the cost of not planning your estate is far greater than the cost of planning it. Don’t put it off any longer, as your family will always be better off with these documents in place. By making one simple phone call today, you can take the pressure off your family and loved ones down the line.

Andrew Simpson is the National Head of Wills & Estate Planning at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

Andrew has 20 years’ experience as a lawyer and for the past 18 of these years he has practiced in Wills disputes and Estate planning, so he understands the many facets of Estate law.

He is so passionate about this area of law that he wrote a plain English book about it to help people understand the importance of Estate planning.

A best-seller, The Australian Guide to Wills & Estate Planning, has just been republished and is available in all good bookstores.

For all oversixty.com.au readers, we are pleased to offer a FREE download of Andrew’s book, valued at $29.95

This is a sponsored post written in partnership with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.