Power of Attorney Lawyers Adelaide
Have you thought about what would happen if you were seriously injured or lost capacity to make decisions for yourself? Who would look after your legal affairs? Who would make decisions regarding your medical treatment?
These are issues many of us would prefer not to think about. While it’s an uncomfortable idea to think that one day you may lose the ability to make decisions for yourself, it is important to know that if you do, someone you trust will be appointed to make decisions on your behalf. The only way to ensure that the person appointed is someone you trust to make the right decisions for you is to draft Power of Attorney and Advance Care Directive documents whilst you are fit and healthy. The documents may never be used; however, it will be too late if you lose capacity without having previously appointed someone to act on your behalf.
What are the Enduring Power of Attorney and Advance Care Directive?
The Enduring Power of Attorney is a person or people appointed by you who have legal power to make financial and/or property decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. If death occurs, the Enduring Power of Attorney ceases at the time of death and legal administrative power is then transferred to the Executor of the Estate.
The Advance Care Directive allows you to set out clear legal arrangements for your future health care, end of life care, preferred living arrangements and other personal matters. You will also appoint a person or people you trust to carry out your wishes should you be unable to do so yourself.
Early Inheritance Syndrome and Elder Abuse
Early inheritance syndrome and elder abuse are unfortunately becoming more common. The awareness of this in our society is also increasing with Government, legal systems and services attempting to address this increasing issues. As estate lawyers we see this awful reality far too often and in families where it would be least expected.
ABC radio have run a number of programs recently highlighting the issue. David Lewis on the R N Background Briefing program on Sunday 25 September 2016 discusses the problem with people personally effected by early inheritance syndrome and elder abuse.
Unfortunately ……… many elderly people are being deprived of their life savings, and often by the people they trust the most; I’m talking about their kids and their carers.
On the show today, a son forces his mother out of her own home. A carer steals an unbelievable amount of money from a blind man. And as his kids fight over his estate, a father struggles to pay his nursing home fees. It’s called financial elder abuse, and it could easily happen to you or someone you know.
You can listen to this conversation in full here. The final comments from Pam on this program raise the importance of being planned so that your future can be managed as you would wish.
I know this has taught me that I need to sit down now and work out my future so I can protect myself, because you never know what drives a human…………………………..or what may happen in the future, but you have to protect yourself.
…..you thought…………….it could never happen in your family but I can assure you it certainly does.
Advance Care Directives and Enduring Power of Attorney = Peace of Mind
In South Australia the crucial documents in making sure your future is well planned are the Advance Care Directive and Enduring Power of Attorney. Part of this process of documentation will be the careful selection, appointment and acceptance of decision makers that you trust to act on your behalf and with your well-being in mind. It is important that the document is not a secret and is not left to gather dust for many years so that is is out of date when required. Make sure your family knows who your decision makers are and where your documents can be found – there will be no-one else ensuring your wishes are being carried out. If you are uneasy about your decision makers for any reason, make the changes while you are able as you cannot do this if your capacity is impaired.
We advise you to seek the help of our estate lawyers to draft documents for the Power of Attorney, Advance Care Directive so that you can be confident your future is in the hands of someone you trust. Remember that you can change your mind about your Power of Attorney and Advance Care Directive appointments at any time whilst you retain the capacity to do so.
If you haven’t yet made your wishes clear, don’t leave it too late.
Contact our Adelaide office on 08 84519040 today.