Wills, estates and retirement

What kind of lawyer?

Planning for what happens to your assets when you lose the ability to control them yourself—because of declining health or passing away—is called ´succession planning’.

Everything to do with succession planning (including wills, enduring powers of attorney, and advanced health directives) is handled by lawyers who work in succession law—succession lawyers.

Top tip: If you have a complex matter, you may need a family law accredited specialist. Just look for the symbol next to their name.

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When you should get succession law advice

It’s perfectly practical to put a plan ‘B’ in place when you’re a pragmatic person.

Here are some of the reasons that getting advice from a succession lawyer can help you feel positively prepared—whatever may pop up.

Starting with wills

Making a will is like going to the dentist, you may not like the idea, but you know you should do it.

A valid will—updated with every big life event—is the best way to express your wishes for assets and loved ones, both in life and beyond. Without your valid testament, the law says who gets what, and in some cases that may simply be the government.

To make a valid will, or to check your current will is valid, make sure you speak with your succession lawyer at every step of your journey.

Taking care of business in retirement (and beyond)

If you own a business, have you ever thought about what will happen to it when you retire? What about if you pass away unexpectedly?

Speaking to a succession lawyer can help you to develop a retirement and contingency plan for your business—so that your family’s income is secure and your employees are protected when you stop working.

Preparing for declining health and advancing age

The best way to ensure your best interests are protected later in life (or in declining health) is to empower those you trust the most with an enduring power of attorney.

An enduring power of attorney is the power to make health and/or financial decisions on your behalf—usually from the time you lose the ability to make those decisions for yourself. You can cancel the power at any time while you still have the capacity. You can be assured your wishes will be followed by setting very specific limits to the powers you give.

Speak to a succession lawyer to find out if you and your family would benefit from putting an enduring power of attorney in place.

Letting it be known: “Don’t pull the plug!”

If you definitely don’t want your doctor to “pull the plug”, you need an advanced health directive. This document lets you get very detailed about what medical treatment you do / do not want performed on you, should you find yourself unable to communicate those wishes yourself.

A succession lawyer can assist you to put an advanced health directive in place, and will answer any questions you may have about making the directive.

Elder law (and abuse)

Elder law is a specialist area of practice that deals specifically with the unique legal challenges faced by some of the most vulnerable members of the community: our elders. These challenges include the horrific financial, physical, and mental impacts suffered as a result of elder abuse.

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing elder abuse at the hands of a family member or partner, and the abuse is happening right now including threat to life call 000. If it’s not an emergency, call Policelink on 131 444 (24 hours, 7 days). You can search for specialist elder lawyers.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.