Estate Planning in Queensland – Be Prepared
Estate planning is all about getting on the front foot to ensure peace of mind as you grow older.
There are certainly challenges that come with growing old in Queensland. How, for example, would your healthcare decisions be made if you were unable to make them yourself?
You would justifiably expect to be consulted about your living arrangements and how your money is used when you are older and before you are no longer able to make such decisions.
Part of any proper estate planning is giving consideration to how this should work in your favour.
Generally, a person who is no longer able to make (among other things) health decisions on their own, would appoint another person, through the use of enduring powers of attorney.
The legislative framework in most Australian states is based on substitute decision-making.
When no estate planning is in place
When an ageing person has no comprehensive estate plan in place, the public guardian and trustee agencies would step in.
This often leads to cases where, due to understaffing and other issues, people end up having no say in decisions about their accommodation and other important matters.
However, as noted in this rather harrowing report after an ABC News investigation, such is not always the case.
In November 2022, the Disability Royal Commission spent a week on problems involving the public guardian and trustee agencies around Australia. Understaffing was only one of those problems.
Key considerations for estate planning in Queensland
Will and Testament
This legal document outlines how assets will be distributed after a person passes away. It’s essential to review and update your will regularly, especially as circumstances change over time.
Power of Attorney
This is a legal document that allows you to entrust another person to make decisions on your behalf, such as when you’re overseas. This should not only be someone you trust but also someone who understands your wishes. Be aware, the power ceases if you become incapacitated.
Enduring Power of Attorney
Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to make (among other things) health decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to. Be aware, however, this does not include making medical decisions.
Advance Health Directive
This legal document outlines a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment if they become unable to make decisions for themselves. This advance health directive can ensure your wishes are followed and prevents potential disputes between family members.
It’s important to consider your superannuation in your estate planning. This is not automatically covered by a will. Nominating a beneficiary or setting up a self-managed superannuation fund may be necessary.
For estate planning in Queensland, trusts can be a useful tool, particularly for ageing persons. A trust can protect assets, minimise taxes, and ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
The best advice is to work with a qualified estate planning professional to help you tailor your estate plan to your unique needs and circumstances. This will help ensure your wishes are respected and your interests are protected.
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