Legal and financial planning for aged care - Juniper

Legal and financial planning for aged care

Are you or a loved one considering Residential Aged Care? Planning for this significant life transition is essential, and it involves both legal and financial aspects.

Below are some simple explanations on some areas to consider before Residential Aged Care. Some of these areas are complex, so our best advice it to reach out to the experts to give you a hand. We recommend speaking to legal professionals or financial advisors who can provide guidance and support.

The more you plan and prepare, the more peace of mind you’ll have as you embark on this new chapter in your life.

1. Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone you trust to make financial decisions on your behalf. This can be crucial when managing your finances while you’re in aged care. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Choose some you trust: This could be a family member or close friend.
  • Type of Power of Attorney: In Western Australia, you can set up a general power of attorney, an enduring power of attorney, or an enduring power of attorney with guardianship. The last two are especially important for aged care planning, as they remain effective even if you become mentally incapable.
  • Consult with legal counsel: It’s advisable to consult with a legal professional when setting up your Power of Attorney to ensure it aligns with your specific needs and the legal requirements in Western Australia.

2. Power of Guardianship

Power of Guardianship is another legal document that allows someone to make decisions about your personal and lifestyle matters when you’re unable to do so. This document can be vital in ensuring your well-being and care preferences are respected.

  • Select a trusted guardian: Choose someone you trust as your guardian and discuss your wishes and preferences with them.
  • Legal requirements: Like Power of Attorney, Power of Guardianship must meet legal requirements. It’s important to consult with a legal expert to ensure compliance.

3. Estate planning

Estate planning involves determining what happens to your assets after you pass away. It’s not just for the wealthy; it’s for everyone. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Create a Will: A Will is a legal document that outlines how your assets will be distributed after your passing. Make sure to consult with an attorney to ensure it is legally binding.
  • Consider beneficiaries: Think about who you want to leave your assets to. It could be family members, friends, or even charities.
  • Review and update: It’s crucial to regularly review and update your will as circumstances change, such as when you enter aged care or if your family situation evolves.

4. Advance Health Directives

An Advance Health Directive allows you to make decisions about your future health care in advance. This document ensures your medical preferences are respected. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Medical preferences: Think about your medical wishes, including treatments you may want or don’t want, and appoint a substitute decision-maker who can advocate for your choices if you can’t communicate them yourself.
  • Legal requirements: An Advance Health Directive is legally binding in Western Australia, but it must be done correctly. Consult with a legal expert or your doctor for guidance.
  • Share with loved ones: Make sure your family, your doctor, and anyone else involved in your care is aware of your Advance Health Directive. Keep copies in accessible places.

You can find more information related to legal and financial planning for aged care in Western Australia online from various reputable sources. Here’s a few suggestions:

Government websites:

Legal and financial services:

  • Many law firms and financial advisory services provide detailed information on their websites. Search for law firms specialising in estate planning and financial advisors in your area.

Other resources:

  • Non-profit organisations that focus on senior and aged care, such as COTA WA, can provide valuable resources. https://www.cotawa.org.au/