Halloween Month – Remember The Deathly Hallows – Wills Enduring Powers of Attorney and Estates
The stone, the wand and the cloak.
We all would like the Philosopher’s Stone to capture immortality. The Pharaohs wanted it, religions are based on it and monuments and tombs attest to human longing for eternal life.
No one likes thinking about or discussing death especially their own. We are programmed to live as if tomorrow will always come so many people, including me, find discussing dealing with death and making a will very confronting. Most people tend to put it off as long as they dare.
The exception is where someone has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or if they are extremely old. This focusses attention on dealing with the future which may not be too far away.
When we hear bad news concerning our health or lose a friend or family member, we can’t ignore death and that is the best time to prepare for it. Planners usually end up better off so why not plan for the future.
It is important to remember that wills can last almost a lifetime- if someone lives to 118 and made a will as soon as they could as an adult being 18 years old in Australia then that will might last for 100 years.
So it is likely the people involved in drafting the will and certainly the testator, that is the person who signs the will and then dies, are no longer around to consult about what they really meant.
Where possible keep the will terms simple and logical and bear in mind that someone else must decipher its meaning. A bit like the tomb raiders deciphering the hieroglyphs in the pyramids or tombs.
My handwriting is indecipherable even to me 2 days after I write a note, let alone 100 years later. So wills need to be carefully drafted and carefully typed and proofread.
ENDURING POWERS OF ATTORNEY OR EPOA
While you are still alive an enduring power of attorney (EPOA) can be like a wand, taking care of business that you no longer can.
If someone has an accident or stroke or dementia they may lose the capacity to look after their own affairs. If there is no EPOA the next of kin are usually asked to consent to medical procedures and health matters. However legal documents, banking and potentially the sale of a home to allow a person to move to higher level care are not possible unless there is a valid EPOA.
The family or interested persons must apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to be appointed as an administrator of the person’s affairs. This process is rigorous and can be costly and time consuming when stress and difficulty is already present for that person and their family.
So tell your friends and family to come see Dianne Ball and Teresa Kearney to do an EPOA and a will to make it easier and cheaper for those closest to them who must look after things if they cannot.
SETTIFY – The Settify Wills link on our website makes it easier as you can fill in the interactive questions on line.
The cloak of invisibility is like the veil that people think separates us from those we love who have passed away.
Death is a shock, an affront to life and no matter how expected most of us can’t quite believe it when it happens.
So what to do?
- Call us, Dianne Ball and Teresa Kearney have over 60 years experience between us of dealing with deceased estates and understand how it all works and can help ease the burden.
- Centrelink should be notified immediately because if pension payments keep going into the account once Centrelink find out about the death they immediately debit the account for overpayments. This can be distressing if the account has been used to pay funeral expenses and so may go into overdraft. If an election is coming up it is wise to notify the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to prevent a fine.
- Death certificate application, check the funeral company are dealing with this.
Do not notify any banks straight away as they may freeze the deceased’s bank accounts and make it difficult to pay urgent bills.
In the month of October- Halloween month, the Deathly Hallows remind you to protect yourself and your family – call Teresa Kearney or Dianne Ball on 07 5591 5099 for help.
McLaughlins Lawyers, your experienced Gold Coast lawyers, we stand beside you to the end and beyond.
Author: Teresa Kearney
Director: Ian Kennedy
Date: 17 October 2019