Why planning is important

This is a guide to help people in NSW proactively plan for the end of their lives. It provides information on making a will, where to get help, other roles as well as documents used.


Planning for end of life, particularly with making and updating a will, can provide peace of mind. That's because a will makes known what your intentions are for distributing your assets.

By documenting and communicating these intentions you can reduce uncertainty or potential dispute with how your affairs are managed by:

  • ensuring you have valid documents and instructions in place, and
  • nominating responsible people or organisations to carry out those instructions 

Your planning checklist

There are 2 key documents that take effect during your lifetime where you authorise nominated people or organisations to make decisions on your behalf. They cease to have force when you die.

Firstly, an Enduring Power of Attorney authorises a person or organisation to make legal and financial decisions for you. You can decide when it takes effect, either:

  • at a time of your choosing, and continues when you're unable to make decisions for yourself
  • or only once you're unable to make legal and financial decisions for yourself

And secondly, an Enduring Guardianship authorises a person to decide on any medical, health and lifestyle matters. It only takes effect if you're unable to make decisions for yourself.

Your will

Another key planning document is your will. This outlines what you want to happen to your estate after you die. A will generally includes details of: 

  • an executor and optional co-executors or substitutes, who manage your estate
  • testamentary guardian to look after any children under 18
  • your beneficiaries and what they should receive, including any assets, gifts or money to people or organisations
  • who will take care of any pets
  • your funeral wishes
  • setting up a trust

Your assets

When making your will it's important to think about your assets. It can help you work out how your estate is to be distributed, and to whom.

It is also important that the person responsible for administering your estate (your executor) knows the details of your assets and liabilities, and where to find those details when the time comes.