Ms Hannah Brand – Lawyer, LLB, GDip LP
Hannah is a Solicitor with experience in Deceased Estate Law and general property matters, which enables her to provide clients with practical advice for their specific circumstances.
Hannah has a keen interest in all aspects of Property and Deceased Estate matters and is a regular volunteer at the Robina Community Legal Centre Inc.
It is essential that all people over the age of 18 have an up to date Will and Power of Attorney
These are two of the most important documents you will ever produce. If you die without a Will or your Will is outdated, it can cost your loved ones many thousands of dollars in legal fees, and time spent in court, trying to administer your estate as you intended. If you were suddenly unable to make important decisions for yourself, who would make these decisions for you? Decisions like where you will live, how and when to spend your money and the type of medical care you should receive. Do you ever think about what would happen should you find yourself unable to make these decisions? This is when having an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in place becomes invaluable.
Your Will & EPA, and the management of your Estate must be handled with the appropriate care and expertise. You need a team you know you can trust. At RobertsLaw Surfers Paradise and Mudgeeraba, we have been practicing in the area of Wills, EPAs and Estates on the Gold Coast for over 30 years. If it has been five or more years since your Will or EPA was made, or you have recently separated, married, had a child/ren, bought or sold property or changed your name, you should contact us as a priority on 07) 5530 5700 for a Will and EPA review.
Your Legal Will
Your Legal Will sets out how you want your possessions to be distributed when you die. Wills allow you to provide for the people you love, leave specific items to specific individuals, make your funeral wishes known, make gifts to charity and appoint someone that you trust to oversee these instructions. Making and keeping an up to date Will, even if you do not own a lot of property, or hold assets of significant value, removes any doubt as to your intentions for your estate once you have passed.
Enduring Power of Attorney
If you are ever unable to manage your own affairs, it may be too late to make your wishes known to those around you. The best way to provide yourself and your loved ones with peace of mind is to legally appoint someone now to manage your financial and personal/health matters, should you lose the ability to do so. You can do this by making an Enduring Power of Attorney.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to give your attorney the power to make financial decisions and also personal and/or health decisions for you, in the event that you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.
An EPA allows you to set out what actions your attorney/s can perform on your behalf. You can even nominate one or more attorneys and stipulate when their power will begin. You can give your attorney/s the authority to make any decision that you could legally make yourself or limit their power if you choose to do so.
Who should make an Enduring Power of Attorney?
Every person over the age of eighteen should make an Enduring Power of Attorney if they have the capacity to understand the nature and effect of the power you are giving to your attorney.
What happens if you have not given someone Enduring Power of Attorney?
Depending on your individual circumstances, the problems could be far-reaching.
For instance, if formal authority is needed for any financial or personal transaction, or if disagreements between family members arise, an application may need to be made to the Guardianship and Administration Tribunal for the appointment of an administrator. This can be stressful, costly and time consuming.
Who can I appoint as my attorney/s?
It is very important to choose people that you trust to act as attorney for you as decisions they make on your behalf are legally binding. You may choose any person, provided they are over eighteen and not your paid carer. The term ‘paid carer’ includes your nurse or doctor but not someone who receives a carer’s pension or similar government benefit.
What are my attorney’s responsibilities?
- Acting with honesty and care.
- Recognising your right to confidentiality and dignity.
- Taking into account your existing relationships, values and culture.
- Respecting your views and wishes.
When does Enduring Power of Attorney begin?
You specify when you want the powers of your financial attorney to begin. This could be immediately, on a particular date, or on a particular occasion such as if you lose capacity. If you do not specify a date or occasion for the document to take effect, your financial attorneys can act on your behalf immediately, however during this time they must only act on your instructions.
Personal/Health Care Matters
Your attorney/s power does not begin until you are incapable of making those decisions for yourself and in fact may never begin. If there does come a time when you need the assistance of your attorney/s to make personal and health care decisions, they are still obliged to help you make decisions for yourself to the best of your ability.
When does the Enduring Power of Attorney cease?
- When you die.
- When you revoke the document that appoints them.
- If you sign a later Enduring Power of Attorney.
- If you marry.
- If you divorce, then any powers given to your former spouse are revoked.
- If your attorney resigns from their appointment. Your attorney may only resign while you have capacity and must give you signed notice. If you have lost capacity, your attorney would need to approach the Guardianship and Administration Tribunal for the appointment of an Administrator or the Supreme Court for leave to resign.
- If your attorney becomes your paid carer or health-care provider the power is revoked so far as it relates to personal/health care matters.
- If your attorney becomes a person with impaired capacity.
- If your attorney becomes bankrupt or insolvent the power is revoked so far as it relates to financial matters.
- If your attorney dies.