The current COVID-19 Pandemic is a challenge for us all during these unsettling times.
If you have been putting the preparation or the review of your existing Will in the “too hard basket” it is essential that you put the necessary arrangements in place to protect your interests to ensure your Estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes.
What would happen if I don't have a Will?
If you were to die in Queensland without a Will, your Estate will be distributed in accordance with Queensland legislation, which may not reflect your wishes and desires. When reviewing or considering a Will, thought should be given to the following:
- If you have young children, who should take care of them in the event something happens to you and your spouse;
- How are your assets held and how should they be divided; and
- How should you provide for children from previous relationships.
Can I prepare my own Will?
Whilst it might be tempting to prepare your Will yourself, depending upon your personal circumstances, your Will may be invalid, challenged by potential beneficiaries or left to the Court to interpret which can result in legal expenses reducing your Estate. The Queensland Courts have in some instances refused to recognise DIY Will Kits. In Western Australia, when considering a home kit Will, a Judge has said “Home made Wills are a curse” and suggested that Wills prepared by experienced lawyers are money well spent. To protect your wishes and Estate, don’t take the chance on a DIY Will Kit.
If you have not prepared or reviewed your existing Enduring Power of Attorney, now is also the time to turn your mind to this and take action.
An Enduring Power of Attorney enables you to appoint trusted people to make financial, personal and health decisions for you. Your chosen Attorney must be someone you trust, not a paid carer, not bankrupt and be over the age of 18 years.
Important considerations when reviewing or preparing your Enduring Power of Attorney are as follows:
- Do you wish to limit the scope of your Attorney’s decision making capacity for financial matters, such as not to sell your BHP Shares.
- Do you wish for your Attorney to act immediately, or upon a doctor confirming in writing that you do not have capacity to make decisions.
- Do you wish to limit the scope of your Attorney’s power to a short period, such as 6 months during this health crisis.
If you appoint an Attorney for your health needs, your Attorney cannot withdraw consent to medical treatment. If you have particular views on how you wish life prolonging treatment to be provided to you or comfortable treatment to enable a peaceful death, you should consider an Advanced Health Directive, which is prepared in consultation with your treating Medical Practitioner.
We are conscious of our duty of care to clients and the community. To ensure that we protect your health and that of our staff, Kennedy Spanner Lawyers is conducting Drive-Thru Estate Planning. We will continue to provide this service as long as Government directions and restrictions enable.