Most Australians haven’t really thought about their end-of-life plan. It makes sense, who wants to think about their own death or being incapacitated?

According to recent research, 66% of people over 65 haven’t talked to their families about their aged care preferences. Do you know who would care for you, or where you would live if you weren’t able to look after yourself?

We want to remove the stigma and fear associated with end-of-life planning. After all, we all die one day, and accidents and unexpected illnesses can happen to anyone at any age. This blog will give you an overview of the main tasks involved in end-of-life planning.

Below, you will find a list of topics we will cover in this blog:

Hit the link and you’ll be taken to the corresponding section.


Why do I need an end-of-life plan?

Before we get started, you may be wondering just why you need end-of-life plan. Well, it’s all about formalising your wishes in case you become so sick you can’t make decisions for yourself.

The simple truth is, if you want your wishes for end-of-life to be respected, you need to speak up now. This is particularly important if you find yourself in palliative care.

An end-of-life plan saves your family the stress of deciding on your care, housing, and finances while they are grieving. It also relieves any concerns that they might not be following your wishes.

The easiest way to communicate your end-of-life plan is to put your wishes in writing. Include information like where your documents are held, what your assets and liabilities are, and any other special things you can think of to help your executors in administering your estate.


Creating a will

A will contains instructions on how you want your estate to be managed and distributed after your death.

It’s important to keep in mind that your will is a living document. Ideally, it should be reviewed every couple of years. People often decide to change their will after having made it. This can happen two, five, ten, or more years down the track.

There are many reasons to change your will as time passes. For example, you may have left things for people may have passed or you may want to include someone new.


Appointing a power of attorney

A power of attorney is a document signed by you that gives a nominated person the power to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated.

Having a power of attorney is like purchasing an insurance policy. If you have a car accident, fall down the stairs, or have a stroke, your life can still go on. Your power of attorney can handle your financials on your behalf.

While a family member is usually the one nominated, the responsibility does not have to rest with one person. Power of attorney can be given to two people who operate jointly or otherwise, depending on your wishes.


— Who should be my power of attorney if I don’t have close family?

A power of attorney must be someone you trust implicitly. They have enormous legal powers and will make big decisions on your behalf.

If someone doesn’t have immediate family or doesn’t trust their family, they generally appoint a legal representative as their power of attorney.


Appointing a power of enduring guardianship

An enduring guardianship gives a nominated person the authority to make personal or lifestyle choices on your behalf. Having an enduring guardianship is critical if you live on your own with no immediate family. This prevents you from being left to the mercy of a beneficiary who might not have your best interests in mind.

If you have a strong family unit then it is unlikely you will need to appoint an enduring guardianship.


— Power of attorney and power of enduring guardianship: what’s the difference?

A power of attorney relates strictly to financial and property decisions. An enduring guardianship affects personal, health and lifestyle-related decisions.


Thinking about aged care

Finally, we need to talk about the elephant in the room: aged care. When it comes to planning for aged care, we recommend hoping for the best while planning for the worst.

Currently, 80% of older Australians will need aged care, but only 3% of us have planned for it.

Australia is moving towards a system where we will be expected to pay more for our care. That requires planning – not just financial decisions but also knowing your options for support.

So, don’t wait for a crisis, start seeking advice about aged care now.


Your end-of-life planning checklist

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry, we’ve put together a checklist to help you get started with your end-of-life planning.

  1. Write a will and seek advice to make sure it is legally binding
  2. Set up an advanced care plan for your family and doctor
  3. Find all your original legal documents including your will. Make certified copies of each and store them securely
  4. Make sure you have an up-to-date list of personal details such as bank accounts, credit cards, super, health insurance, medical records, etc
  5. Appoint an enduring guardian who can make decisions for you regarding medical treatment, pain management and palliative care
  6. Make plans for your final send-off including any burial or cremation requests
  7. Sort out any outstanding financial matters and make sure money can be easily accessed if you are paying for your own funeral

Still confused?

Try our free online service, YourConcierge101. All you need to do is answer some simple questions and we’ll provide you with your own toolkit tailored to your specific circumstance. Click the button below to find out more today.

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