A Will is a document setting out the intentions of how a person wishes his or her estate, including property, all finances and personal belongings, to be dealt with once the person dies . When a person dies without having a Will he/she is said to have died intestate. In such a situation it can become a long and expensive exercise to manage the deceased person’s estate. It is for this reason why one should consider making a Will.
As one’s personal circumstances change it is always advisable to update an existing Will. For example, when one marries or enters into a de facto relationship.
It is for these reasons why one should seriously consider having a Will.
A Power of Attorney (PoA) is NOT a Will.
The purpose of a PoA is to appoint a person to look after your financial affairs when you are unable to take care of the affairs yourself. For example, you may go overseas on a holiday and urgently require money to be sent to you or have bills to pay at home. In such circumstances, the person appointed as your Attorney has the power to withdraw money from your bank and deal with it as required.
Many people consider appointing an Attorney as they reach a stage in their lives when they cannot attend to their financial affairs owing to old age, illness or other personal reasons.
An Enduring Power of Attorney, as opposed to the Power of Attorney, permits your attorney to continue acting as your attorney if you lose mental capacity.
Both types of Power of Attorney cease to have any legal effect on the death of the person making the appointment.
The most important aspect in appointing a PoA is to be very cautious of whom you appoint. The reason is, quite simply, because you are placing your financial affairs in the hands of that person(s). You can appoint more than one person.