Each year almost 1000 Australian travellers die overseas, usually through illness or accident. If you are over 18, you should consider making a will and an enduring power of attorney before you travel. These are probably the most important documents you will ever sign, so it's important that you seek expert advice.
Make or update your will
A will allows you to nominate who will benefit from your estate. If you don't have a will, it can mean that your property and possessions might not be distributed as you intended. A will also provides the opportunity for you to nominate a guardian for your children. It is always recommended to have an up-to-date will in place to ensure your wishes are known.
A will kit is a good solution to create a will if your circumstances are simple and is readily available online.
If your circumstances are complex it is recommended that you contact the relevant Public Trustees organisation or legal professional in your State and Territory for further advice.
Make or update your powers of attorney
Make sure you have considered what may happen in the event you are unable to make important decisions, and who you may trust to do so on your behalf.
Before you go, consider who will pay your bills or look after your finances when you are out of the country. Appoint a trusted person to make decisions for you in the event you become unable to.
If your circumstances are simple, a power of attorney kit is a good solution and is readily available online. You will require one specific to your State and Territory.
If your circumstances are complex (for example, if an appointment is likely to be challenged), contact the relevant Public Trustee organisation or a legal professional in your State or Territory for further advice.
Public trustees in Australia
Some states may not recognise wills or powers of attorney prepared and witnessed overseas. If you are overseas and would like to make a will or an enduring power of attorney for use in Australia, make sure you contact a solicitor or the public trustee/advocate for your state or territory before you contact a foreign solicitor.