When it comes to estate planning, most people are aware of the importance of having a Will in place to outline how your assets will be distributed after you pass away. However, many people overlook the importance of having a Power of Attorney (‘POA’) and Advance Care Directive (‘ACD’) in place as well. In fact, it’s often recommended to get these documents done at the same time as your Will. Here are some reasons why:
1) Ensures Comprehensive Planning
Getting a POA and ACD done at the same time as your will ensures that you have a comprehensive estate plan in place. While a Will outlines how your assets will be distributed after you pass away, a POA and ACD deal with matters while you are still alive. These documents allow you to appoint someone you trust to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.
2) Avoids Delays and Legal Complications
If you don’t have a POA and ACD in place and become incapacitated, your loved ones may have to go to SACAT or a court to get legal permission to make decisions on your behalf. This can be a time-consuming and potentially expensive process, which can cause unnecessary stress and uncertainty for your loved ones. SACAT orders also have review periods and a requirement to report annually to Public Trustee. By having these documents in place, you can avoid delays and legal complications and ensure that your wishes are respected.
3) Provides Clarity and Guidance
A POA and ACD provide clarity and guidance to your loved ones about your wishes and preferences. Your POA can make legal, financial and property decisions on your behalf, while your ACD outlines your medical treatment preferences, as well as accommodation and lifestyle decisions in case you become unable to make decisions for yourself. These documents can help reduce confusion and conflict among your loved ones and ensure that your wishes are respected.
4) Avoids Unwanted Medical Treatments
If you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself and don’t have an ACD in place, medical professionals may provide treatment that you would not have wanted. By having an ACD in place, you can ensure that your healthcare wishes are respected and that you only receive treatments that align with your personal values and beliefs. You can make binding refusals of certain healthcare in specific circumstances and also express outcomes you wish to avoid.
5) Offers Peace of Mind
Having a comprehensive estate plan in place can offer peace of mind for you and your loved ones. It ensures that your wishes are respected and that your loved ones are spared the burden of making difficult decisions on your behalf. By getting a POA and ACD done at the same time as your Will, you can rest assured that your entire estate plan is in order.
Getting a POA and ACD done at the same time as your Will is essential for comprehensive estate planning. It can help you avoid delays and legal complications, provide clarity and guidance to your loved ones, avoid unwanted medical treatments, and offer peace of mind.
For additional information on the importance of seeking out a lawyer when considering Estate Planning, please see our blog post on the risks of using a Will Kit.
Here at Hume Taylor & Co., our Estate Planning team offers extensive services to organise all of your Estate Planning documents efficiently and cohesively to give you peace of mind. Contact our Adelaide office on (08) 8223 3199, our Millicent office on (08) 8733 2500 or our Whyalla office on (08) 8645 7666 to book an appointment to see one of our lawyers today.