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Power of attorney and guardianship

As people get older they need to make arrangements on how to handle their estate, and their personal interests in the event of sickness or death.

These include:

Enduring guardianship

A guardian is essentially a legally appointed substitute decision-maker. A guardian is granted powers only as is necessary to accomplish what an individual cannot do independently.

Individuals can choose to create a legal document called an ‘enduring power of guardianship’ that authorises a person to make personal, lifestyle or treatment decisions on behalf of themselves.  A guardian can also be appointed by the courts. Unlike the power of attorney, each state has a guardianship board or tribunal which supervises the guardian.

The most common functions of a guardian are making decisions on accommodation, health care and medical and dental treatment.

Enduring power of attorney (financial)

A financial ‘enduring power of attorney’ is a legal document that remains valid if the nominator becomes mentally incompetent.  The agent who is appointed can make any legal or financial decisions on the nominator’s behalf.

The appointed attorney is able to make a decision on property or financial affairs, for example, operate bank accounts, pay bills and purchase and sell property.

Enduring power of attorney (medical treatment)

An enduring power of attorney for medical treatment authorises the agent to make decisions about an individual’s medical care and treatment. This power takes effect if, and when, the nominator becomes incapacitated, whether temporarily or permanently.

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News

Investing in shares vs property in SMSFs

March 19, 2020

Shares and property are two popular investment options for those with a self-managed super fund (SMSF). However, they both have very different attributes and choosing the one that will achieve the best outcome for an SMSF depends on your personal goals and situation.

While the price of shares can vary drastically, property is a relatively stable asset, making it appealing to those who want more security and predictability. Property prices are also negotiable unlike shares, and you can generally borrow money at a lower rate for property purchases.

It may seem hard to find the perfect investment property, but older and undercapitalised properties can be renovated for profit. However, returns from property rentals can be dented due to factors such as land tax, utilities and rates, maintenance and tenancy vacancies.

Shares are more dynamic and volatile than property. One advantage is the accessibility of investing in shares, as you can enter the share market with a few thousand dollars – much less than what you need to invest in a property.

Maintaining a portfolio of quality shares that pay tax-effective dividends may be a good way to fund retirement. With the right portfolio allocation, shares also have the potential to provide a better, stronger income than property rentals, as long as that income is sustainable and increasing.

Property can generally be used as a wealth-creation tool, while shares can create a reliable retirement income. For those who can afford to put more money into investments, it may be a good idea to consider investing and diversifying in both. If you’re unsure about which investment option is right for you, seeking financial advice may be the best option.