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Topdocs has a legal team that have a substantial wealth of knowledge and experience in advising on and preparing Wills and Powers of Attorney for their clients. For many of our clients it is also necessary for a complete estate planning service to be provided to ensure that their assets are distributed as directed in their Will.
Below are some of the services we provide that relate to Wills & Powers of Attorney.
- Drafting Wills and Codicils
- Accepting appointments as trustees and executors under wills.
- Drafting various types of Powers of Attorney (e.g. Financial, Medical)
- Estate Planning Services and Advice
- Preparation of various trusts (e.g. Family Trusts/Testamentary Trusts)
- Providing tax advice to minimize taxation for intended beneficiaries.
- Succession Planning.
- Superannuation and binding nominations.
- Estate Administration.
- Contested Estates and litigation disputes in any way that relates to wills and powers of attorney.
The drafting of a Will is an extremely important document that should not be overlooked as it can have some serious ramifications if a person dies without a Will.
The purpose of making a Will is to give you the power to decide who you leave your personal assets to rather than you dying without a Will (intestate) where your estate is then distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy. Sometimes, the distribution of the intestacy formula is not what you would have had in mind had you prepared a Will prior to your death.
Depending on your assets and business structures, will determine how simple or complex your Will needs be. You can talk to one of our lawyers who will be able to advise you further.
General Power of Attorney
A General Power of Attorney appoints a person to make financial decisions on your behalf, but the appointment is terminated should you loose capacity. General Powers of Attorney are often used for a specific purpose e.g. to appoint an attorney to sign all documents relating to the sale of your property. The document will cease to have effect once the sale of property has been completed.
Enduring Power of Attorney (Financial/Medical/Enduring Guardian)
Unlike a General Power of Attorney, the powers under an Enduring Power of Attorney continue in the event you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. An Enduring Power of Attorney allows your Attorney the power to make financial decisions and or personal and medical decisions. There are different documents prepared to cater for the different decisions you wish each attorney to have the power to do. These will be discussed below.
An Enduring Power of Attorney enables you to set out what actions your attorney can perform on your behalf. You can nominate more than one attorney and their power can be joint or several. You can even nominate when their power will begin. The power can commence immediately or when you loose capacity and are no longer able to make any decisions. You can give your attorney the authority to make any decision that you could legally make yourself or limit the attorney’s powers to terms set by you.
Enduring Power of Attorney (Financial)
This gives one or more people wide powers to manage your personal and legal affairs. If you choose, it can be used while you are still capable of looking after yourself. Your attorney can purchase and sell your properties, control your investments and assets, collect your income, operate your bank accounts, organise your income tax or pension requirements and in general manage your assets. You can limit the powers you give to your Attorney. You can appoint one person or two or more people to be your attorneys. If you appoint two or more, you can choose to have either one or the other to act, or you can state that both must act jointly on your behalf. You can nominate when and under what circumstances your Power of Attorney becomes operational.
Enduring Power of Attorney (Enduring Guardian)
An Enduring Power of Guardianship is an instrument that enables you to appoint an enduring guardian to make ‘lifestyle’ decisions on your behalf if you cannot make those decisions at a later time for yourself. You may choose to specify exactly the type of decisions the guardian can make, those he or she cannot make, and any factors the guardian should take into account in making those decisions.
Enduring Power of Attorney (Medical Treatment)
Unlike the Financial Power of Attorney (which can be used at any time) your Medical Power of Attorney only takes effect after you become incapacitated. This gives your Agent (the person you nominate to act on your behalf) the power to make decisions about your medical treatment when you are unable to do so. “Medical Treatment” means major medical procedures such as operations or taking medicine or drugs. This does not include minor medical procedures such as treatment to relieve pain or providing food and water. Your Agent also has the power to refuse medical treatment which would greatly distress you. It only allows one person at a time to make your medical decisions. Your second choice can only act if your first choice is unable to act or has died.