I know that many of the people who read this post travel overseas both for work and on holiday – importantly almost 1000 Australian travellers die overseas each year, mostly due to illness or accident.
If you are travelling overseas along with taking out things like travel insurance you should consider making a will and a power of attorney before you travel.
Those of you who are familiar with this blog know that I have posted a number of times about the importance of a Will. To recap a will allows you to nominate who will benefit from your estate. If you die without a will your estate will be distributed via intestacy rules.
Importantly a Will gives you the opportunity to nominate a guardian for your children and ensures that your loved ones can carry out your wishes.
A Power of Attorney is a document that allows another person to legally manage your financial and legal affairs.
A Power of Attorney is a document that allows a person to retain control of their financial and legal affairs by stating who and on what terms they can be managed. It is established at a time when they can manage their own affairs, in the event that their health fails, and they can no longer manage their own affairs the attorney they nominate will do so for them.
An attorney can pay your bills, use your bank accounts, and even sell your house. Therefore you must trust the person you appoint as your attorney.
An attorney is a fiduciary, which is someone who has undertaken to act for and on behalf of another in a particular matter in circumstances which give rise to a relationship of trust and confidence.
A fiduciary must act in accordance with your directions, and must not put themselves in a position where their interests are in conflict with yours.
If you want your attorney to deal with your land, the Power of Attorney must be registered with the LPI (formerly known as the Land Titles Office).
In order to change or stop a Power of Attorney you must formally revoke this Power, provided you have the capacity to make that decision. If a registered Power of Attorney is revoked, that revocation should also be lodged with the LPI.
If you are going overseas, have purchased a house and settlement will occur while you are away you can establish a General Power of Attorney allowing someone that you trust to sign documents on your behalf in order that the transaction will continue in your absence.
As we have stated before it is important that you take the time to manage your affairs so when you head overseas make sure you have insurance and your Will and if need be your Power of Attorney is up to date.