What is the difference between a will and a power of attorney?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WILL AND A POWER OF ATTORNEY?
This is a question sometimes asked by new clients, when calling to make an appointment or during an appointment to make a Will.
A Will is the document you make (individually) to give away your property, whether real estate or personal including cars, money in the bank, jewellery and other items of value to you, when you die.
A Power of Attorney is a document you complete to empower a person (called your attorney), or people you trust, to act on your behalf in a range of circumstances. Such documents can only be used whilst you are alive and on death they expire and the person(s) you have appointed in your Will, to handle your affairs and implement your wishes as expressed in the will, takes over. That person is called your executor.
There are numerous rules and requirements to be complied with in the making and signing of these documents. The main point however is that you are assisting those you love, live with and support, usually your family, by having these documents, particularly a will, in place.
Yes, there are processes to be followed and implemented when you die leaving financial assets and no will. We strongly believe you are doing the wrong thing in so doing.
You may presume all your assets, or the family home you have lived in for many years will pass directly to your spouse, however there is a high likelihood it is not so simple particularly if you have children.
A half hour to one hour appointment could resolve all this and introduce you to Powers of Attorney.
Your nominated executor(s) is more often than not also your attorney in that you are trusting them with decision making on your behalf and “in your best interest” with your assets whilst you are alive.
A General Non-Enduring Power of Attorney may be the most appropriate document for an individual to authorise attorneys to complete all matters associated with a property development whilst he is away on other business, for example, whereas an Enduring Power of Attorney (Personal and Financial) may be the more appropriate document for parents to have in place as they get older and require assistance to perform their normal daily duties or even when about to go on an extended holiday away from home.
We can discuss such issues and ensure you are aware of the risks associated with such appointments given the opportunity to do so.
Our fees are extremely competitive.
This article is intended only to provide a summary of the subject matter covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to render legal advice. No reader should act on the basis of any matter contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice.
DISCLAIMER: We accept no responsibility for any action taken after reading this article. It is intended as a guide only and is not a substitute for the expert legal advice you can get from De Marco Lawyers and other relevant experts.