How to Take Control of Your Personal and Estate Affairs During COVID-19

Wills and Estates

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DATE PUBLISHED: April 28, 2020


At all times we are committed to assisting you with ensuring your estate planning documents reflect your personal wishes and objectives. In these uncertain times, it is even more important to ensure your affairs are in order in case something unexpected happens.

Below are 3 things you can do to take control over your affairs which may give you some peace of mind in these uncertain times.


MAKE SURE YOUR ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY REFLECTS YOUR WISHES

An enduring power of attorney (EPA) allows you to give another person the authority to make personal/health and/or financial decisions on your behalf. The document only operates whilst you are alive.

If you become unwell, are in self-isolation or are in quarantine, you may need someone to make certain personal/health and/or financial decisions on your behalf. An EPA may allow your attorney to assist you with these matters.

Certain formalities must be followed to make a valid EPA. One of these formalities is that it must be witnessed by a qualified witness, even if you are in self-isolation or quarantine.


REVIEW YOUR WILL AND MAKE SURE IT DOES WHAT YOU WANT IT TO

If you do not have a valid will, the law dictates who receives your estate assets after you die.  A valid will can prevent this from happening.

Some key issues to review in your will include:

  • Guardians of minor children – are they still appropriate;
  • Executors – are they still the appropriate people to administer your estate (e.g. the persons who will collect your assets, pay your debts and distribute the balance in accordance with your will);
  • Beneficiaries – Are your estate assets still being given to the people you want? If there have been any changes to beneficiaries’ circumstances (e.g. bankruptcy, death) then you should review your will with a lawyer so that options can be discussed.

The costs of rectifying issues with a will, which has not been drafted or signed correctly will always outweigh the costs of having it properly drafted and could substantially reduce the benefit your beneficiaries would otherwise receive.


CHECK YOUR SUPERANNUATION DEATH BENEFIT NOMINATION AND LIFE INSURANCE POLICY NOMINATIONS

Superannuation may or may not be dealt with by your will so it is important to know where your superannuation is paid on your death. Some superannuation funds allow you to make a binding death benefit nomination (BDBN) directing the payment of your superannuation on your death to superannuation dependants (such as a spouse or child) or to your estate to be dealt with by your will.

A BDBN can sometimes lapse so it is important to check with your superannuation fund that your BDBN is still in place and valid. It is also important to check the beneficiaries nominated on any life insurance policies to ensure those funds can be distributed to the persons you intend. Click here to read about some common indicators that you may need to update your estate planning documents.

If you have any questions about your estate planning, please contact the wills and estates team at McInnes Wilson Lawyers. Even if you are in self-isolation or quarantine do not worry as we can discuss various options for meeting, reviewing your estate planning documents and witnessing of documents.

If you have any questions about your estate planning or wish to review your estate planning, please do not hesitate to contact the wills and estates team at McInnes Wilson Lawyers.

10 indicators that you may need to update your estate planning documents

Find whether updating your estate planning documents is necessary for you.

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