At the end of July, we hosted a very popular talk at Gaden on Estate Planning with James Kelly from Owen Hodge Lawyers presenting and taking questions. We know that a lot of people were not able to attend this session so we are sharing a summary of the main points below.
Planning your estate is important to ensure you and your family are protected in the event of your death. It also can ensure that you have a say in how your assets and health are managed in the event that you become incapacitated or unable to communicate.
Here are the key messages from the talk:
Estate Planning is not just your Will; it includes several documents and directives. The key documents are:
Will & Testament, which determines what, happens to your assets when you die.
Enduring Power of Attorney, which enables you to nominate a trusted friend or family member to manage your assets if you become incapacitated.
Enduring Guardianship, which enables you to nominate a trusted friend or family member to make medical decisions if you become incapacitated.
You can nominate the same people to be your Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship or different people. Some people choose to nominate two or more people that will make decisions together.
James recommends that everyone creates an Estate Plan and that you review it every five years to ensure that you have accounted for any life changes that might occur. You can purchase kits to complete these documents yourself but James recommends using a solicitor if you have the budget as it may save confusion down the track.
Your Estate Planning should always look after your family as your first priority. However, many people also like to include a gift to a charity via a bequest. Bequests can be a great way for you to make a positive difference to your community and leave a lasting legacy once you are gone. A bequest can be any amount you wish or you could leave a residual. Your solicitor can help you include a charity in your will if you would like to leave a bequest.