Tips for successful planning
Picture your future life
Think about what’s important to you now and in the future. For example:
- the people in your life
- your home and what you value about where you live
- social connections
- personal health now and in the future
- how you want to participate in or contribute to the community
- leisure activities you enjoy.
Talk to your family and friends
Having conversations about your values and your preferences for the future will help people you care about to understand what’s important to you. Sharing your views will reduce the chance of misunderstandings or conflict and your family and friends will be better able to support your attorney(s).
Choose your attorney(s) carefully
You are entrusting your future welfare to this person, so be careful who you choose. This person will influence your future wellbeing and a wise choice will mean you are respected and not neglected or exploited.
Consider providing more detail
The Enduring Power of Attorney form includes spaces to describe exactly how your trusted people can and should act and work together. For example, you can define conditions about how they would make decisions collectively, who they would consult or inform, and limits to specific decisions.
By providing more detail you may prevent anyone taking advantage of your possibly declining mental capacity. You may want legal advice about how to do this effectively, for example, if your circumstances or relationships are complicated.
Don’t forget to share copies of your signed documents
Tell the important people in your life that you have signed these legal documents. Keep the original in a safe place and make certified copies for other people who may need to be involved in the future, especially your attorney(s), doctor, family members, accountant and family lawyer. It is also wise to carry a card in your purse or wallet, stating that you have made an Enduring Power of Attorney and or Advance Health Directive and noting the contact details of someone who has copies of the forms. Contact us if you would like a wallet card posted to you.
Review your choices
Make a point of reviewing these legal documents every two to three years so your choices are still suitable for your current circumstances.
Some major life events affect the documents’ validity, such as getting married or separated. Helpful information about how to manage these scenarios is available on the forms themselves. Another consideration is that your relationship with your chosen attorney(s) may change and, as a result, you may no longer want them to act on your behalf.
You should also keep in touch with your attorney(s) and make sure they know if you change address or if your family, relationships or health circumstances change. That way, they will be able to assist you and keep abreast of any changes to your wishes.
Who else can help?
You can fill in the forms yourself, but if your personal, family or financial circumstances are complicated, you should consider seeking legal and financial advice in the preparation of your future plans. Depending on your needs, you might also get help from one of these organisations.