As many of you know, when you attend with us to prepare an enduring document such as a will or enduring power of attorney or for assistance in another matter which might require the storing of an original agreement or other document, we receipt your original documents into our safe custody. This is a free service that we offer to all of our clients. We store your documents in a locked, fire proof safe so that if you ever require these documents, particularly a will or enduring power of attorney, then you have the peace of mind that the documents have been stored safely and securely.
We recommend that you regularly review your safe custody documents, particularly if events occur in your life that require the documents to be changed. When you attend with us to review and update your will for example, we will always retrieve your old will from our safe custody and once the new will is signed, destroy the old one. We take this step on your behalf and with your instructions so that when the times to use the document, there is no confusion about which is your last will.
We also hold your enduring powers of attorney. These are very important documents as they appoint someone, your attorney, to make decisions for you in the event that you have lost capacity. Your attorney makes financial decisions and health decisions. If your original enduring power of attorney, or a certified copy of it, fell into the wrong hands then there would be some serious consequences that flow from that because by this document you are appointing someone to make decisions for you, usually about your money.
It is for this reason that we take storage and retrieval of your enduring power of attorney very seriously. If an attorney requires your enduring power of attorney to make decisions because you have lost capacity, it is our practice here at Carroll Fairon Solicitors to require your attorney to produce a letter from your usual treating General Practitioner to certify that you no longer have capacity to make decisions and that your enduring power of attorney should be activated. We do this not to be difficult but to ensure that your power of attorney document is released, if and only if, it is actually required.
Reviewing your documents
We recommend that you review any documents held in safe custody, in particular your wills and enduring powers of attorney regularly and consult with us if you wish to change them. You should especially do this if any of the following events occur:
- You change your name or anyone noted in the document changes their name.
- If an executor or attorney dies or become unwilling or unsuitable to act due to ill health, age or for any other reason.
- If a beneficiary named in your will dies.
- If any specific property has been left to a particular beneficiary in your will and you subsequently sell that property or it changes in nature.
- If your family situation or that of your family members change, for example, marriage, divorce, matrimonial problems, children or further children or de facto relationships
- If you become involved in a new business, company or trust or if you take up permanent residence in another state or overseas.
If it has been some time since you reviewed your will or enduring power of attorney, then perhaps it is time to make an appointment to meet with one of our solicitors to update your enduring documents where necessary.