Power Of Attorney

Preparing a power of attorney may be something you consider as part of your overall estate plan. A power of attorney assists you to plan for absences or unforeseen events by ensuring certain legal and financial affairs can be managed by somebody you trust if you are away, become ill, or incapacitated.

You may choose to grant a (general) power of attorney or an enduring power of attorney. Each operate differently, and we recommend obtaining legal advice to ensure that you make an informed decision about the type of power of attorney that is appropriate for your needs.

How does a power of attorney work?

A power of attorney is a legal document made by a person (the principal) which appoints another person (the attorney) to manage the principal’s legal and financial affairs if/when a specified event occurs and subject to certain conditions. 

A power of attorney is useful if you are planning to go overseas, taking an extended holiday, suffer from poor health, have an accident, or reach a stage in your life when you need greater assistance with managing your affairs.

A power of attorney can give considerable power to another person, who is essentially authorised to ‘stand in your shoes’ to manage your affairs. Your attorney can pay your bills, do your banking, and even enter into legal agreements on your behalf. It is therefore essential that you choose somebody sensible who you trust explicitly, and who has the ability, the capacity and willingness to make sound decisions that are in your best interests.

If you wish to revoke (cancel) a power of attorney, you must do so in writing and provide a copy of the revocation to all your appointed attorneys. It is also important to notify banks, building societies or other places where the power of attorney has been, or may be, used.

Enduring powers of attorney

An enduring power of attorney, as the name suggests, endures, or continues if the principal loses capacity. An enduring power of attorney cannot be revoked once a principal loses capacity.

Making a power of attorney

Your power of attorney can be flexible, allowing you to limit specific areas in which your attorney can make decisions and choosing when your attorney may start to make decisions for you.

You can appoint more than one attorney, but if appointing more than one, you will need to decide whether they are to act jointly (together) or severally (individually).

We recommend you consult a lawyer if you would like to make a power of attorney. We can help you determine the type of power of attorney that is right for your circumstances, discuss when you would like the power to commence, and prepare your documents noting any restrictions and limitations you wish to include.

If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 02 4297 6066 for expert legal advice.