If you have ever had a niggling feeling that you should get around to writing your Last Will and Testament, you may be surprised to know that there are a couple of other documents you should also consider in order to plan for incapacity (if that should happen).
Having a Representation Agreement and Power of Attorney can ensure that if you became incapacitated in an accident, diagnosed with dementia, or are otherwise unable to make decisions regarding yourself, you and your estate will be looked after as you direct in those documents.
Should you become incapacitated without the above-noted documents and your family is left trying to take care of you, it makes things very difficult if it is not clear who can make decisions regarding your healthcare (as set out in a Representation Agreement). In addition, it is also difficult for your family to get you the care you need if no-one has authority (through a Power of Attorney) to access your bank accounts or capital to pay for it.
Your family members may be left with no option than to apply to the court for Committee of your estate and person. This process can be anything but straightforward if there is discontent between family members and the Committee is contested it can leave you in limbo somewhere while the application goes through the court process. If no family members are willing or able to apply you could have the Public Guardian and Trustee appointed as your Committee, however your estate will be responsible for their fees (which are approximately 5% of the value of your estate).
Turning your mind to having these documents prepared for you when you are healthy can save your family a lot of time, effort and money and can ensure that if the worst was to happen, at least your family has some direction from you.
Should you wish to discuss any estate planning requirements you may have we would be happy to assist you.