Who would speak for you if you couldn’t speak for yourself? What would they say? Think about your financial, health, legal and personal wishes and how you can make sure they’re known and respected.
Accidents, illness or death can happen at any time so it’s important to talk to your loved ones about your wishes and document them.
Complete the legal tools available so your loved ones will know your choices, and be prompted to act upon them if you cannot express yourself at some time in the future.
Thinking about your future and making your wishes known in advance can help reduce family stress and conflict during times of crisis.
Speak for yourself. Make your wishes clear and protect against abuse.
Remember to leave copies of your documents with your loved ones, your GP, your legal team and your local hospital.
How do I Plan Ahead?
Advance Care Directives
An Advance Care Directive is a legal form that allows people over the age of 18 years to:
- Write down their wishes, preferences and instructions for future health care, living arrangements, personal matters and end of life
- Appoint one or more substitute decision-makers to make these decisions on their behalf when they’re unable to do so themselves.
Visit the Advance Care Directives website to download or print an Advance Care Directive form or Do-It-Yourself Kit, or purchase professionally printed hard copies. Hard copy forms cost $1 and Kits cost $5.
For further information including helpful fact sheets phone the Office of the Public Advocate’s Information Service on 8342 8200.
Office of the Public Advocate are hosting a free three part webinar series ‘How an Advance Care Directive can work for you’ with a session each month, starting in October. For more information about each session, to register or watch the recorded webinars, visit Advance Care Directive webinars page on the Office of the Public Advocate website.
Enduring Power of Attorney
Making an Enduring Power of Attorney means your financial affairs can be looked after by someone you know and trust, and continues to operate even after you become legally incapacitated and decisions need to be made on your behalf.
You cannot make a power of attorney after you have become legally incapacitated. You can cancel your enduring power of attorney at any time, as long as you still have legal capacity.
The Legal Services Commission of South Australia has Enduring Power of Attorney Kits available to purchase for $22. The Kit includes the forms you’ll need and explains how to complete and use them. Visit the website for further information.
The Public Trustee provides Will making and Enduring Power of Attorney services to eligible concession holders or those subject to administration or guardianship orders issued by SACAT or the Courts. For further information and to check your eligibility, please visit the website.
Make a Will and nominate who you want your property and possessions (your ‘estate’) to go to after your death.
There is no legal requirement that a solicitor must prepare a Will, but using a legal professional will make sure your Will is legal and reduce the possibility of it being contested or challenged.
If you don’t have a legal Will, South Australian laws determine how your property or ‘estate’ will be divided.
The Legal Services Commission of South Australia provides free information and legal advice on Wills. Or you could engage a private lawyer.
Organ and tissue donation
You can record your wishes regarding organ and tissue donation by registering at DonateLife or on your SA drivers license. All you need is your Medicare card. Registering is voluntary. it is important talk with your family and those close to you about your decision.
More information can be found on the DonateLife website.
Plan Ahead Week 2023!
Plan Ahead Week encourages us to reflect on our financial, health, legal, and personal wishes, ensuring they are known and documented.
Have you already taken action? Can you confidently check off this list?
- I have an Advance Care Directive, and my loved ones are well-informed about it.
- I have completed my own Enduring Power of Attorney, and my chosen representative has accepted this significant responsibility.
- I am a registered organ and tissue donor, and my loved ones are aware of my decision.
- I have completed my Will and ensured that my wishes are clearly communicated.
Remember, it's never too early to Plan Ahead.