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Make Sure You are Planning Ahead

planning aheadMany Australians are not prepared if something adverse were to happen to them.

Despite widely reported increases of illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, strokes and cancers, latest research shows most Australians are not prepared for the possibility something adverse could happen to themselves or their ageing parents.

While the majority (85 per cent) of adults with ageing parents expect to be involved in some aspect of decision making for their parents should this be required: 71 per cent have not discussed with their parents how their finances would be managed; 64 per cent have not spoken about what medical or health treatment they would (or would not) want; 66 per cent haven’t discussed where they would live and 58 per cent have not spoken about how their parents wish their estate to be distributed after they die.[1]

It is a behaviour that needs to change according to a new Australian-first, NSW Government campaign – “Get it in black & white” – to encourage people to seek out the right information, have these conversations now, and take control of their own plans for later life while they have the capacity to do so.

According to Imelda Dodds, CEO NSW Trustee & Guardian, if you leave it until it is too late, loved ones may be left guessing your financial, health, and living needs. This will mean they will have to go through time-consuming application processes at a tribunal to obtain permission to manage your affairs.

“This is often the last thing you need at a time that is likely to already be stressful and overwhelming. Similarly if you don’t have a Will, your estate and your loved ones may not inherit,” she said.

Recent research carried out by NSW Trustee & Guardian showed only five per cent of Australian adults have a clear understanding of the documents that relate to pre-planning – a Will, Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship.[2]

Developed by a team of stakeholders including Office for Ageing, NSW Trustee & Guardian, Public Guardian and NSW Ministry of Health, the campaign encourages people to seek information and take action, directing them to a comprehensive website www.planningaheadtools.com.au.  The online resource provides simple and straightforward information about how and why people need to take control and make legal, financial and health decisions now rather than waiting until it is too late.

It explains the three important legal documents that relate to pre-planning – Wills, Powers of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship Appointments.


[1]Lonergan Research, Planning for Later Life Report – study conducted conducted among 1,016 Australians aged 18 years or older, September 2013.

[2]Ibid.