Estate Planning

Going overseas? Don’t forget to pack your estate plan

B2B Editor 1 January 2013

Going overseas? Don’t forget to pack your estate plan

With the rise in the value of the Aussie Dollar many people are considering taking advantage of the exchange rate and squeezing in some overseas travel. One of your pre-trip preparations should be:

Did you know that the risk of dying while travelling overseas averages out to around 1 in 5000? Compare that to the annual chance of dying in a motor accident of 1 in 4000. That statistic also does not include all those people who don’t die but are seriously injured or become seriously ill (and may die after they get back to Australia).
The questions you need to ask before you go overseas are:
1. Who will look after my estate if I die? Who should it go to?
2. Who will be able to make decisions for me and look after me if I am unable to?
Your will: Your will is an important document and central to your estate plan. It sets out how you want your assets distributed on your death and who is to be your executor.
If you do not have a will or it was made at a time when your circumstances were quite different, it is probably time for a review. You may have made a will some time ago, either before children were born or when they were very young. You may have started or ended a relationship. You may have built up your assets over that period. You should review your will to make sure it still represents your testamentary intentions.
Your Power of Attorney: An enduring power of attorney is a vital, but often overlooked, element of an estate plan. An enduring power of attorney appoints someone as your decision maker (attorney) in circumstances where you do not have the ability or capacity to make decisions yourself.
If you are involved in a terrible accident and find yourself in hospital, there are many decisions that will need to be made. Do bills have to be paid? Do you need an operation? Even the small things need someone to make a decision.
Your enduring power of attorney covers these eventualities.
Going on holidays should not be a time when you are worried about whether everything is in order. Attend to it before going away. Your time can then be more relaxed and enjoyable.

Stephen Bourke