The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has turned the western world upside down in relation to so many aspects of our lives. It is important in this time that you put in place planning to protect you and your family, your business if you have one, and to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the future.
Martin Bullock Lawyers will be running a short series on what legal actions you should take during the Coronavirus pandemic. The first post in the series concerns protecting yourself and your family, including your family finances.
Obviously, the worst outcome of the virus would be if you or one of your family member passes away. This might not be something you want to think about, but it is a possibility that faces all of us during this time of uncertainty. If you have been putting off your Wills and Estates planning, then now is the time when it must be done.
If you die without a Will, called an “intestacy”, then your assets will be divided according to the Succession Act 2006 (NSW). You will have no control over how they are divided. There is a legal formula, but you also won’t even know who is going to distribute those assets.
So, the first thing you need to do is to do a Will.
The second thing you need to look at is to protect your family finances from loss of business, loss of a job, and to protect yourselves should your finances or investments collapse. We will cover that in another blog post.
Thirdly, you need to safeguard yourself in case you lose capacity or if you are out of action for a period of time, potentially even to the extent of an induced coma. This is where it is essential that you have a Power of Attorney and an Appointment of Enduring Guardian. These documents allow you to outline what your plans are and to appoint other people who can manage both your finances and your lifestyle choices, such as where you live, whilst you recover.
You want to protect the assets you have worked so hard to build, and this is your chance to do it.
Currently, there are regulations before the NSW Parliament that will enable us to do all of these documents – Wills, Powers of Attorney and Appointments of Enduring Guardian – digitally. However, these regulations are currently not in place. So, at the moment, technically these documents must be signed in person, face-to-face.
Martin Bullock Lawyers is hopeful that this will all change within the next week or so, and there will be regulations put into place enabling us to prepare these documents via video conference, using software such as Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc.
We are prepared for that, but we are waiting for the government to catch up.
Protect yourself and your family finances. Do a Will, Power of Attorney and Appointment of Guardian right now. There is no better time.
Martin Bullock lawyers. For all your legal solutions.