Have you wondered about what would happen if you were to become seriously injured or incapacitated?

Or what would happen when you die?

This sounds grim, but it is important that in such situations you trust the person appointed to make decisions on your behalf.

1. Power of Attorney (POA) – Think: “loss of capacity to manage financial affairs”

This document allows you to appoint someone (“Attorney”) to manage your money, assets, finances and legal affairs. For example, an attorney can lodge your tax returns, operate bank accounts, pay your bills, sell your house, invest your money and use your money for your benefit.

If you were going on a holiday and wanted to ensure that your business can continue to run, you may wish to execute a General POA which will only remain enforceable for the time specified.

An Enduring POA allows your Attorney to act on your behalf if and when you lose capacity.

If you do not have a POA and lose capacity, it can be costly and time consuming for those closest to you to act in your best interest.

2. Advanced Care Directive (ACD) – Think: “loss of capacity to manage medical and personal affairs”

This document gives the person you appoint the power to make decisions in relation to your future health care, end of life, living arrangements and personal matters based on your wishes.

This is particularly important in relation to end of life care for example whether or not you wish to be resuscitated. Your wishes will be followed as specified in your ACD.

3. Will – Think: “After death wishes”

When you die the POA and ACD document will no longer apply and the Will you have signed comes into effect. In this document, you can appoint someone to distribute your estate (i.e. all that you own) in accordance  with your wishes.

If you die without a Will, it could mean that the people you most want to benefit from your estate might not get anything at all.

If you don’t have these documents or wish to update your current documents, please contact one of our friendly solicitors at Kelly Kelly Legal for more information.

This article was written by Melanie Rego.