Complete guide to estate planning

Fred asks estate planning lawyer Rod Cunich for advice on the full range of documents required when ‘tidying’ one’s affairs.


Q. Fred
Could you please tell me what legal documents should be made, other than a will and power of attorney?

A. Typically, people include the following as part of their estate planning documentation: a will, an enduring power of attorney (for legal and financial matters), an appointment of enduring guardian (for health and welfare decisions) and an advance health care directive (for end-of-life decisions).

In some states and territories, the last three documents are all part of one document, while in other states they are separate documents. 

Another important document to consider is a binding death benefit nomination directing the trustee of your superannuation fund with regard to whom you wish your death benefit to be paid.

You might also consider preparing a ‘letter of wishes’ which is a non-binding direction addressed to the executors of your will and/or your enduring attorney advising how you would like them to manage your affairs – a bit like a set of guiding principles.

Other documents that might be relevant depend on the complexity of a person’s financial affairs (for example, existence of companies, trusts, and so on) or the complexity of their personal affairs (for example, blended families, disabled beneficiaries, and so on).

Rod Cunich is a lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience in estate planning. If you have a question for Rod, email it to [email protected].

Related articles:
Power of attorney protocols
Ivy desperate for clarity on will
Do I help my mum re-write her will?

Disclaimer: This information has been provided by Rod Cunich and should be considered general in nature. Seek legal advice before acting on this information.

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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