Meet Frank, Laura and the kids – a happy family until…

8 February 2014 by Aon Hewitt

Frank has a young family, a nice home, and a good job with a salary that covers the mortgage, car loan, credit cards and day to day living expenses.

Frank's super fund provides him with insurance cover for death, total and permanent disablement and income protection, so he doesn't need to worry about his family coping financially if something happens to him.  BUT Frank does not have an up to date Will. The one he made ages ago doesn't include his wife Laura or the two kids. He never organised a power of attorney or guardian either, thinking he was ‘young and indestructible’.

Then tragedy strikes – a car accident leaves Frank so badly injured he's placed in an assisted living facility. Frank's insurance benefits will help his family cope from day to day, however:

  • Frank no longer has the legal capacity to make his own decisions. With no power of attorney in place, Laura has no legal authority to make decisions about the home and other assets which Frank acquired before they married, ownership of which remains solely in his name
  • Laura can't even access or vary the home loan
  • with no guardianship in place, there are legal limits on Laura's authority to make health and lifestyle decisions on Frank's behalf
  • while already dealing with the distress of Frank's situation, Laura now has to apply for guardianship which involves a tribunal application and may involve a tribunal hearing
  • if Frank dies, Laura will then have to apply to the court to administer his estate and may be subjected to a lengthy court process.

Frank's story highlights the importance of life planning at any age and the stress it can cause if something goes wrong and there’s no up-to-date plan in place. For more information, see the Aon Master Trust’s estate planning factsheet.

Contact us to discuss how we can assist you with your estate planning needs.