What you need to know when sorting your affairs

Lawyer Rod Cunich explains what you need to know when sorting your affairs

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 newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au.


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


    To make a comment, please register or login
    17th Jul 2018
    The earlier part of the article gives several elements, 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).
    It does not include the Executor, a person who can have quite a strong influence on the execution and legal claims etc. arising from any dispute.
    Perhaps the position of Executor is implied in one of the earlier catgories, but only an extensively trained legal person would know this, - and this article is not directed to such.

    As the Executor is not included in the appropriate part of the article, I suggest this article should be withdrawn with apologies to all members of YLC, as it could be extremely damaging to any beneficionaries of a will and also the intent of the maker of the will, ie the owner of the bequeathed goods property etc.- however you choose to define "intent".
    17th Jul 2018
    Read a few articles on this website from Rod. The biggest I have with them is that Rod is running this as advertising because he does not respond to any questions or concerns.
    Perhaps YLC staff might put 'paid advertisement' next to the article to let readers know what they are about to spend time on.
    Kaye Fallick
    17th Jul 2018
    Hi Mick
    thanks for your comments, but it is important to clarify that the above content is provided to assist YLC members and is not paid advertising, unpaid advertising or any other form of promotion. Rod answers our reader questions free of charge, so we are very grateful for his information and expertise. He is also the most popular speaker at our Retirement Bootcamps, so we know he hits the spot with our members. The point raised by Lookfar is a good one, and we will share it with Rod. many thanks Kaye
    17th Jul 2018
    Maybe ask Rod to interact with posters a bit Kaye. There are sometimes questions which simply go unanswered.
    18th Jul 2018
    All good points.
    Worth noting though: Rod does his best to respond to any questions emailed to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au, as stated at the bottom of each of his articles. So if you have a query, send it through!
    17th Jul 2018
    Is handy as I’m in the middle of doing this. An extra thing for me is documentation of my Funeral Bond. That will coverall my funeral expenses.

    19th Jul 2018
    If there is even the tiniest possibility your will might be contested, you need to make a very detailed statement explaining the reasons for the distribution of your estate. Make sure nobody who might benefit and nobody connected to or representing in any way any beneficiary is present or even knows about you doing this. Preferably use a different lawyer from the one who made your will and have a doctor present who can attest you did this while in sound mind, calm and fully capable of reasoning and that the lawyer provided suitable advice.

    The courts will most likely ignore this AND your Will when a greedy lying undeserving a-hole demands an unfair share, and if the estate isn't huge, the stinking lawyers will take it all anyway if the will is contested, but a clear statement of intent and reasons MIGHT just help a little.

    The Family Provisions Act is a thorough disgrace. It denies people the right to choose how THEIR money is distributed after their death. It denies heirs their proper inheritance. It feeds a crowd of vile, disgusting lawyers. And it allows the lowest and most vile greedy liars to subject rightful heirs and executors to months of torment. If it weren't for the fact that the powers-that-be apparently want to provide a feeding trough for lawyers, they might as well give people guns to hold at executors' heads to demand money. That's the effect of the law anyway - at least in NSW.

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