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Wills, EPAs and AHDs

by | May 25, 2022

Wills

Why should I have a Will…?
A Will is an important document as it provides legal protection to your assets and ensures your Estate is handled in accordance with your wishes after you die. A Will provides specific directions on how you wish your estate to be distributed.

What happens if I don’t make a Will…?
If you die without having a Will, it means that you have died “intestate”. When this occurs, the intestacy laws of the State or Territory you live in will determine how your estate assets will be distributed upon your death. This may result in your assets being distributed in a way that would not have been your intention. It could result in more time and costs for your loved ones sorting out these issues after your passing.

What can I include in my Will…?

  • Wishes in relation to organ donations, cremation and burial
  • Forgiving a debt
  • Specific items you wish to go to specific people (motor vehicles, real property, jewelry etc)
  • Guardianship wishes if there are minor children at the time of executing your Will
  • What age you want minor beneficiaries to inherit

Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA)

What is an EPA…?
An EPA allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions and act on your behalf in both personal and health matters and financial matters. You can appoint different Attorneys for each role or you can appoint the same Attorneys.

What does the EPA cover…?

  • Personal Matters – decisions about your care and welfare such as where you live and support services you may require.
  • Health Matters – decisions about your health care and includes most medical treatments, procedures and services to treat your physical and mental conditions. Health care also includes whether or not to turn life support off or delaying your death with the intervention of life sustaining treatments.
  • Financial & Property matters –decisions that may include paying expenses, making investments, selling property or continuation of your business.

When will my EPA be used….?
Your Attorney can only act for you in relation to personal and health matters during times when you do not have capacity.
Your Attorney can only act for you in relation to financial matters as specified by you including;

  • From a particular date or circumstance
  • When your doctor provides a written letter advising you no longer have capacity
  • As soon as your Attorney accepts their appointment (signs your EPA)

How many Attorneys can I appoint…?
There is no limit to the number of Attorneys you appoint, however, you can only appoint a maximum of four (4) joint Attorneys. This means that all four Attorneys must agree on all decisions.

We recommend appointing a minimum of two (2) Attorneys in case something happens to one.
If you appoint more than one (1) Attorney, you will need to decide how those Attorneys exercise their powers which can be:

  1. Jointly – all Attorneys must agree on every decision and exercise powers unanimously
  2. Severally – any one of your Attorneys can make a decision
  3. By majority – if you have more than two Attorneys, then more than half of your Attorneys must agree on decisions
  4. Successively – your Attorney only has power to act when the original Attorney is unable or unwilling to act

Advance Health Directives (AHD)

What is an AHD….?
An AHD allows your wishes to be known and provides health professionals direction in relation to your future health care. The AHD is completed following discussions with your Doctor who will be able to access your medical history and discuss treatment options to ensure you fully understand the effects of any directive you may give.
A doctor must sign your AHD and once signed, this document will take precedence over an EPA that is already in place.

Why would I need to have an AHD in place…?
The main reasons for requiring an AHD are:

  • Requirements increasing from nursing homes and aged care facilities to have one in place
  • If you have strong wishes you want to ensure are followed
  • You want to remove the burden of decision making off your loved ones

Lets have a chat

Do you have any questions?

Let’s make a time to sit down and discuss your query so the team at V.A.J. Byrne & Co. Lawyers can advise you on the best solution moving forward.

Gladstone & Bundaberg Offices:

Phone: (07) 4972 1144
Email: office@byrnelawyers.com.au
Postal Address: PO Box 273 Gladstone QLD 4680

Gladstone Street Address:
148 Auckland Street
Gladstone QLD 4680

Hours of Business:
8:30am to 5:00pm
Monday to Friday
(except Public Holidays and Christmas Closure)

Bundaberg Street Address:
Suite 2, 36 Barolin Street
Bundaberg QLD 4670

 

 

 

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Serving the CQ Region since 1931

 

 

 

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