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5 Essential Estate Planning Documents Every Adult Should Have

Estate Planning is crucial for everyone regardless of age. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of complacency, believing that these decisions can be put off until a later time or that your wishes are so "obvious" that it is not necessary to formalise them in any documents.

Not preparing the necessary documents can lead to unnecessary heartache, confusion and delay and in a worst case scenario can mean that your family and loved ones are left with uncertainty and conjecture with which they may be required to go about making major decisions in relation to assets and beliefs which you have spent an entire lifetime acquiring.

Here are the essential estate planning documents everyone should consider.

#1 - Last Will and Testament

A Will is a legal document that outlines how your assets should be distributed after your death. It can specify your executors, your beneficiaries and any specific instructions you may wish to include . A Will only operates after you have passed away.

#2 - Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a document that gives someone the legal authority to make financial decisions on your behalf. These can be general, meaning it only operates whilst you have capacity, or enduring, meaning it continues past the point where you lose the capacity to make such decisions for yourself. A Power of Attorney ceases to operate upon your death.

#3 - Enduring Guardian

An Enduring Guardian is appointed by an Enduring Guardianship document and is the person/s you appoint to make decisions about your health and lifestyle in the event you cannot make these decisions for yourself. It can only operate after you lose the capacity to make such decisions for yourself and ceases to operate upon your death. An Enduring Guardianship document can also record your wishes with regard to future medical care, similar to an Advanced Care Directive.

#4 - Advanced Care Directive

An Advance Care Directive records your specific preferences and instructions for future health care including treatments you would accept or refuse if you had a life-threatening illness or injury. Similar to an Enduring Guardianship document It can only operate after you lose capacity to make such decisions for yourself, however whilst an Enduring Guardian can make various decisions in relation to where you live and the healthcare, medical and dental treatment you receive, an Advanced Care Directive is a statement of your wishes and instructions particularly in relation to end of life type decisions.

#5 - Binding Nomination

Superannuation is not automatically included as an asset in a deceased’s estate, which means it may not be distributed in accordance with a deceased's Will. A Binding Nomination is a written direction from a member to their

superannuation trustee setting out how they wish their superannuation death

benefits to be distributed. This nomination is generally only valid for a limited period of time and lapses if it is not renewed and so it is vital for any estate plan that these are made and remain up to date.

Estate planning should not be delayed or left to chance and should not be done once and never considered again. At Inele Law we strive to maintain an ongoing proactive relationship with you and to assist to clear up any confusion and ambiguity. Book a call with us today to start the discussion to help secure your legacy with confidence.

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