There is no denying how wonderful it is to fall in love again and to be making life plans with your new partner. It really is difficult to imagine
storm clouds gathering on your horizon at some stage in the future.
However, it is at this time that it is best to have those difficult conversations with your new partner about the “what-if’s” of life. Often, these are the “big issues”. These are the issues like:
“What will happen if I become ill or incapacitated?”
“Will you support me and how will you support me?”
“Will you consult my adult children about my care and health needs with the decisions you are making about me?”
“What if one of us cannot live at home anymore?”
These conversations are made even more difficult in circumstances where there are family tensions among your respective adult children.
In addition to considering your estate plan at this stage in your life, it is also vitally important to put in place a Power of Attorney. Your Attorney has a very important role in acting in your interests when it comes to financial matters and health care issues, especially if there comes a time where you cannot make decisions for yourself.
Your Attorney need not be your new partner, but it is important to remember that your Attorney will be making decisions that will have an impact on you and your partner’s life and your assets. This is specifically relevant if it is necessary to liquidate assets to fund health care or a placement in a residential aged care facility. Your Attorney has all the powers that you do and they effectively ‘step’ into your shoes.
It is also very important for adult children to know where they stand in the overall family dynamics and whether or not any decision making will be falling to them, or, if they will be excluded. Adult children sometimes feel isolated or marginalised from their parents when they re-partner. It is a good idea for you to talk to your children about the reasons why you have chosen your particular Attorney.
“In appointing your Attorney, consider the person you trust the most to make sensible decisions in your interest having regard to the overall dynamics of your family situation.” If you appoint more than one Attorney, it is important that your Attorneys are able to cooperate and work together in your best interests.
If you do not make an Enduring Power of Attorney and later lose the ability to make decisions for yourself, it is common that an application is made for a guardian and manager to be appointed. This is a potential conflict zone if your partner and children do not get along or see eye to eye. This angst can be reduced by having a carefully considered Enduring Power of Attorney in place.
DDCS Lawyers can assist you in preparing Enduring Powers of Attorney, as well as provide advice about who should be appointed and what powers or directions should be given. To find out more, contact us on (02) 6212 7600.