Study identifies the particular legal issues confronting older people in NSW
Faced with an ageing population, State and Federal Governments have acknowledged the need to implement strategies to address the diverse needs of older people in the community.
However, there has been little research or specific attention to their access to justice and legal needs. The importance of addressing the legal needs of older people is underscored by the fact that older people are identified as a group who are socially and economically disadvantaged.
The aim of the study was to identify the particular legal issues which often confront older people in New South Wales (NSW). Two areas highlighted in the study that we can assist with are:
Powers of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) enables an older person to pre-arrange substitute decision-making should s/he lose personal capacity. The main barrier identified for accessing EPOAs was a lack of awareness of their existence and function.
Wills and Probate
Wills are the most common formal legal mechanism for advance decision-making, permitting people to prepare instructions about the distribution of their assets after their death. Generally, will making is an accessible process, with most older people either having a will or being aware of their basic function.
The complexity of applying for a grant of probate for a deceased’s estate presents more difficulties for older people in terms of formality and expense. Concerns were expressed about the use of lawyers in will making and in applying for the grant of probate, including concerns about potential conflicts of interests for lawyers who advise the testator as well as the family, and about the potential difficulties in locating wills or determining which of a number of wills is valid.
To learn more about how we can assist you with Powers of Attorney and Wills and Probate, contact us.