What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone to choose another person to make decisions for them in the event that they are unable to make decisions for themself.
If you are the holder of a Power of Attorney any decision you make will have the same legal effect as if the person who appointed you made the decision themselves.
Different types of Power of Attorney?
The two main types of Powers of Attorney are an Enduring Power of Attorney and a General Power of Attorney. Each type of Power of Attorney serves a useful but different purpose and we recommend you contact us to discuss your particular circumstances so that we can advise you as to the most suitable for your needs.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is useful if you are planning for the future and continues even when a person is unable to make a decision themselves, say as a result of accident or illness.
An Enduring Power of Attorney continues even after you have lost capacity to make a decision and may last up until an individual’s death at which time the Executor appointed under a person’s Will takes responsibility for all decisions associated with the administration of the deceased’s estate.
On the other hand, an Ordinary Power of Attorney does not last indefinitely and is more like a one off power that is issued for a set period of time and a set purpose. For example, if you are buying a home and will be overseas at the time the sale is finalised you may give someone a Ordinary Power of Attorney to finalise the sale on your behalf. In that example, the Ordinary Power of Attorney will end as soon as the sale is finalised.
Appointing an Enduring Guardian is different from giving someone your Power of Attorney.
An Enduring Guardian is empowered to make a range of lifestyle decisions including such things as where you live and what health care and other services are provided to you. If you lose capacity to make these decisions for yourself at some time in the future, an Enduring Guardian is able to step in and make them for you.
It is important to remember though that an Enduring Guardian cannot usually make decisions about the handling of your money or assets. In order to grant someone that power you will also need to give them an Enduring Power of Attorney in addition to making them your Enduring Guardian.
How we can help
It is always sensible to plan ahead not just for expected end of life events but even things as simple as travelling overseas for an extended period of time which may mean you need someone to keep an eye on things for you back at home.
If you or someone you know or care about is considering appointing an Enduring or Ordinary Power of Attorney or would like to consider appointing an Enduring Guardian it is important that you fully understand both the effect of the appointment and the responsibilities that come with being appointed. It also important that all necessary forms are completed correctly to ensure the appointment is legally valid.
Our team of specialist lawyers has considerable experience in assisting our clients with these important life decisions and is able to work with you to compassionately and clearly explain your options and prepare all necessary paperwork to ensure that any appointments are well thought out, clear and legally valid.
Please contact us if you have any questions or would like any assistance in this regard.