• Margo McAlary LLB | Solicitor

How To Protect Your Vulnerability As You Get Older

You would have to be hiding your head in the sand not to be aware of or trying to ignore, the serious problems concerning aged care being reported in the media, thinking it won’t happen to you. It is a stark reality that getting older often places us in a vulnerable position.

We would like to trust our family members to take care of us and do what is in our best interests however that is not always the case, unfortunately, especially when there is money involved. Such situations are referred to “Elder Abuse”.

That is why particular attention needs to be given to appointing suitable Powers of Attorney who will look after your financial and legal affairs if you lose the capacity to make such decisions and Enduring Guardians who will make decisions about your health and where you live if you lose the capacity to look after yourself.

It is also very important to appoint Executors of your Will who know you well, who understand what you want to do with your estate after you pass away and will administer your estate in accordance with your wishes.

Often when asked questions about the Will maker’s family situation, what seemed to be a simple matter to the Will maker is identified as potentially resulting in a Will being able to be challenged in Court by someone who considers that they have not been provided for, or not been provided for adequately, in your Will.

As with most things in life, prevention is better than cure. It is well worth investing in your future security by the protection that you can achieve with properly drafted legal documents to control what happens to you before losing the mental capacity to do so.

It is difficult to advise someone that they cannot make a Will or change their Will, nor appoint a Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardian because a Medical Practitioner has provided a certificate to say they have lost their mental capacity. Any documents prepared after a person has lost capacity would not have legal force and effect.

The overwhelming response by people who have put such documents in place is: “It’s such a relief to get that done. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.”

For more information visit www.merewetherlegalchambers.com.au

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