When & Why Update Your Will & Estate Planning


Estate planning is a crucial process that ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes, even when you’re no longer around.

However, as your life evolves, so should your estate planning documents.

In this article, we’ll delve into when and why you should update your Will, Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA), and Advance Care Directive (ACD).


Why Update Your Will?


Your Will is the cornerstone of your estate plan.

Here are some key moments when you should consider revising it:


1. Marriage

If your Will wasn’t created in anticipation of your marriage, it may become invalid upon tying the knot. Update it to reflect your new marital status.


2. Separation & Divorce

Whether you’re married or in a de facto relationship, separation or divorce may necessitate changes to your Will to reflect your changed circumstances.


3. Parenthood

Welcoming a child into your family is a significant life event. Updating your Will ensures your child is provided for as you intend.


4. Executor or Beneficiary Changes

If an executor or a beneficiary named in your Will passes away or if you’ve gifted assets you no longer own, it’s time for a Will update.


5. Financial Changes

Major financial changes, such as acquiring substantial assets or starting a new business, may require adjustments in your Will to accommodate these new assets.


Why Update Your Enduring Power of Attorney?


An EPOA grants someone the authority to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

Here’s when you should revisit your EPOA:


1. Loss of Trust

If you no longer trust the person you initially appointed as your attorney, you should consider changing your EPOA to someone you have confidence in.


2. Appointment of Another Attorney

If you wish to grant power of attorney to another person, your existing EPOA needs modification.


3. Incapacity or Death

If your current attorney loses ‘capacity’ or passes away, it’s vital to update your EPOA to ensure a new, capable attorney can step in.


4. Restrictions & Changes

If you want to change or add restrictions to your attorney’s powers, or if you want them to act jointly or jointly and severally (if you have multiple attorneys), an update is in order.


Why Update Your Advance Care Directive?


An ACD outlines your preferences for medical treatment and appoints a Substitute Decision Maker (SDM) to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.

Review and revise your ACD in the following situations:


1. Loss of Trust in SDM

If you no longer trust your appointed SDM, consider naming someone else whom you trust implicitly.


2. Incapacity or Death of SDM

If your SDM loses ‘capacity’ or passes away, your ACD should be updated to designate a new SDM.


3. Changing Preferences

If your preferences for future care and treatment evolve, ensure your ACD reflects your current wishes.


4. Changes in Living Situation or Health

A change in your living circumstances or health status may necessitate modifications to your ACD to ensure it remains accurate.


Capacity & Estate Planning


Importantly, all changes to your Will, EPOA, or ACD must be made while you still have decision-making ‘capacity.’

If you are unable to make decisions due to incapacity, you won’t be able to amend your estate planning documents.

So, it’s wise to review and update them periodically to ensure they align with your current circumstances and wishes.

Remember, consulting with a qualified estate planning professional in Australia is essential when making these updates to ensure they comply with current laws and regulations.


Contact Us


For more information, contact us at Bambrick Legal today. We offer a free, no-obligation 15-min consultation for all enquiries.

You can also read more about our estate planning services here.

Related Blog – Distribution of an Estate to Beneficiaries in South Australia: Key Steps

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