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Power of Attorney Explained

When a person is considering estate planning there are key documents that you should have drafted. A Will is a legal document which outlines how your assets will be distributed after your death. A power of attorney is a legal document which protects you in life by allowing you to appoint the person you trust to make decisions just as you yourself would.

A power of attorney is a document giving another person authority to make financial and/or personal/health decisions on your behalf.  There are two different types of power of attorney which will be explained further below:-

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney can authorise your attorney to make decisions in relation to your finances. A general power of attorney can come into effect on the date you elect. You can place limitations on what your attorney can and cannot do.

A general power of attorney ends when the principal loses their capacity. A doctor will need to outline that a person no longer has the required capacity.

A general power of attorney may be convenient if you wanted someone to handle your dealings while you were overseas or if you had been in an accident which made managing your affairs difficult.

Enduring Power of Attorney

An enduring power of attorney can authorise your attorney to make decisions in relation to your finances and/or personal-health matters. An enduring power of attorney can be effective immediately for financial matters or at the time of a specific event for personal and health matters. Parties commonly elect that the enduring power of attorney will come into effect when they lose capacity.

What are personal and health matters?

If a person is given power as an attorney in relation to your personal and/or health matters they can make decisions regarding matters such as who you live with, who you have contact with, your daily care, they can also consent to particular health care or operations.

What are financial matters?

If a person is given power as an attorney in relation to your financial matters they can make decisions regarding buying or selling property, investments, your assets, the operation of your bank accounts and spending your money on your behalf.

Who can I appoint as my attorney?

The person who you appoint as your attorney will make decisions which will have the same legal effect as if you had made the decision yourself, therefore you should appoint someone who is prepared and will make decisions in your best interest.

  • An attorney must be over eighteen (18) years old;
  • Must not be your health care provider;
  • Must not be bankrupt; and
  • Must not be a paid carer.

Contact Rapid Legal Solutions to discuss your need for appointing a Power of Attorney.

Article posted 11 May 2016.

This document offers general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice under any circumstance.  Please contact your solicitor for clarification on any areas.


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