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Future planning

Overview

Planning ahead for the future is important, especially when you are well and able to do so. This is because sometimes things can happen that mean you are not longer able to make your own decisions. 

There are a number of different legal tools that you can use to plan for the future. The most common are Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Enduring Powers of Guardianship, and Advance Health Directives.  Each of these documents has a different purpose and there are special rules to make sure each of them are valid. 

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that sets out what you want to happen with your property after you die. For example, your Will might say that you want all of your property to go to a partner after you die, or it might say that you want your property divided among many different people. A Will also sets out who will carry out your wishes, called 'the executor(s)'. 

More information on Wills is available:

  • in the resources below - see Wills and Toolkit for the future, and
  • in Find Legal Answers section, Wills and estates.

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows another person (or people) to make decisions about your property and finances during your lifetime. It is important that whoever is appointed under an Enduring Power of Attorney is trustworthy and reliable, as they will be able to make decisions on your behalf, even when you are no longer capable of making those decisions yourself.

More information on Enduring Powers of Attorney is available:

  • in the resources below - see Toolkit for the future, Administration and Guardianship, and
  • in Find Legal Answers section, Enduring Powers of Attorney.

What is an Enduring Power of Guardianship?

An Enduring Power of Guardianship is a legal document that allows another person (or people) to make decisions about your personal lifestyle and medical treatment decisions when you are no longer capable of making these decisions for yourself. 

More information about Enduring Powers of Guardianship is available:

What is an Advance Health Directive?

An Advance Health Directive is a legal document which lets you say what specific treatment and health care you want in the future, in case you are unable to make the decision when the time comes. For example, you might decide to consent to or refuse future medical treatment in certain circumstances. An Advanced Health Directive only operates once you lose the ability to make or communicate decisions for yourself.

More information about Advance Health Directives is available:

Get help

The Seniors Rights and Advocacy Service can give advice to older Western Australians about planning for the future. To speak with a lawyer from the SRAS, call the Infoline on 1300 650 579 or email seniorsrights@legalaid.wa.gov.au