Changes in the law means your Estate Planning could be compromised

Did you get married overseas?

 The changes to the Marriage Act 1961 effective from 9 December 2017 mean that couples who married overseas before 9 December 2017 have their unions automatically recognized under Australian law as of 9 December 2017.

The effect is that any Will, Power of Attorney or Binding Death Nomination signed before 9 December 2017 for those couples may be revoked or altered.

Are you a same-sex couple?

Any new marriage for all couples including same sex couples under the amended Marriage Act will revoke a Will and potentially a Power of Attorney.

Do you have children?

The status of children may also be altered as step children are included in the definition of child under the Succession Act in Queensland.

What should you do?

To make sure your wishes are carried out and to avoid any unintended results all Wills, Powers of Attorney and Nominations should be urgently reviewed.

Everyone would like to remain fit and healthy with all their faculties and eventually pass away peacefully in their sleep at home. In reality, many different scenarios can result in legal and financial difficulties for you and your loved ones.

A personal perspective

Personally, my own grandmother was left without the capacity to speak or attend to her affairs following a stroke, and this continued for 8 long years. Where illness or accident strikes, families can be left in limbo and the process of appointing a guardian is expensive and time consuming.

Giving family or trusted persons the power to manage health and finances with an Enduring Power of Attorney means health needs and money management requirements can be met effectively with minimal cost. Having an up to date Will and Binding Death Nomination is the best way to protect your estate and family from unexpected costs and complications when you pass away.

Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney must be signed whilst a person has legal capacity, so it may be too late to appoint an attorney to take care of your affairs or finalise a Will once dementia or alzheimers have been diagnosed. Accordingly, just as you would proactively put in place an insurance policy to protect you and your loved ones in the event that unfortunate events happen in the future, it is prudent to ensure that you also have a valid Will and Enduring Power of Attorney.

We can help to arrange an Enduring Power of Attorney and review your Will and Binding Death Nominations. If you have been putting off these important safeguards please contact our Commercial and Property Senior Associate, Teresa Kearney on 5591 5099 or one of our experienced team of lawyers at McLaughlins Lawyers, your Gold Coast Lawyers.

Author: Teresa Kearney

Director: Ian Kennedy

Date: 19 March 2018