Your Will

Media: Important Legal Documents Set to Become Invalid in 2016

Documents impacting the medical and lifestyle decisions of South Australians could soon become invalid, says TGB senior lawyer Rosemary Caruso.

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Documents impacting the medical and lifestyle decisions of South Australians could soon become invalid, says Tindall Gask Bentley senior lawyer Rosemary Caruso.

From 1 January 2016, a change in state law will affect people who have prepared Enduring Guardian documents, now known as an Advance Care Directives.

The Enduring Guardian document allowed a person to nominate a guardian to make medical, lifestyle and personal decisions on their behalf, should they be unable to do so themselves.

If the appointed guardian has not signed their acceptance of the Enduring Guardian document, it is likely to become invalid when transitional provisions end on 31 December 2015.

Tindall Gask Bentley, one of South Australia’s largest law firms, is writing to 9,000 current and past estate planning clients to warn them about the issue.

“The ramifications are potentially significant,” said TGB senior lawyer Rosemary Caruso.

“If the document is not accepted and the person loses capacity, family or friends may then need to go through the stressful and lengthy process of seeking an Order from the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

“Some decisions won’t be able to be made until an Order is granted, which is problematic because the decisions are often time sensitive and important, relating to anything from living arrangements to choosing medical care.”

Ms Caruso is urging anyone who has prepared an Enduring Guardian to double check their document and take action if necessary.

“There are potentially many South Australians with unsigned documents who are unaware of this change in legislation,” she said.

“For peace of mind all it takes is a quick call to your lawyer who will check and then help you make arrangements with your guardian if required.”

For assistance with your Advance Care Directive or any other estate planning issue, contact your nearest TGB office.