In recent times we have seen large scale panic in the supermarkets with people preparing for potential isolation due to the ever-increasing spread of the coronavirus in Australia. However, have you considered whether you have your legal affairs in order prior to isolation?
In uncertain times such as this, it is important to consider whether you have a current, valid Will and Power of Attorney.
The legal requirements of a Will.
In all Australian jurisdictions there are laws governing what constitutes a valid Will.
Section 9 of Wills Act 1968 (ACT) and Sections 4-7 and 9 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) provides that for a will to be valid it must:
- Be in writing
- Appoint an executor
- Dispose of assets
- Be signed by the Will maker and witnessed by two independent witnesses who are present all at the same time.
If you are currently in isolation or expect you may need to go into isolation, you may not be able to satisfy point 4 of the legal requirement if you do not have contact with two independent witnesses over the age of 18 years who can witness your will.
Why it is important to have an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA)
An EPOA allows another person to act as your attorney to make decisions and act on your behalf while you are alive. If you have self-quarantined yourself or are admitted to hospital and do not have an EPOA, no one will be able to make important financial or business decisions on your behalf, or attend to your affairs. An EPOA (or in NSW, an Enduring Guardian) also gives power to another person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you no longer have the capacity to make these decisions on your own behalf.
In these times of preparation for COVID-19 and potential isolation we strongly recommend that you ensure you have a current Will and EPOA prior to being placed into isolation.
For more information please contact our office on the contact details below.
Preparation of your documents can be done electronically and by telephone, and if you cannot attend our office to sign the documents, we can give you proper instructions for having your documents properly signed and witnessed.
Chamberlains Law Firm is currently running a promotional offer with a 15% discount on all our Standard Wills and Estate Packages until the end of April 2020.
This is a limited time offer, take advantage today and contact our Wills & Estate Team.