A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you appoint the person of your choice to manage your assets and financial affairs while you are alive.
In some circumstances a Power of Attorney is used when you are travelling overseas and want to give your attorney access to your bank accounts to pay your bills or manage your finances or complete a property transaction.
Usually an Enduring Power of Attorney is in place to protect you should you become unwell and are no longer able to manage your own financial affairs. This ensures it is effective after capacity to make decisions is lost.
Making a Power of Attorney does not mean that you will lose control over your financial affairs while you have capacity. It simply gives your attorney formal authority to manage your financial affairs according to your instructions. Your Power of Attorney can be revoked at any time provided you have the capacity to do so.
A Power of Attorney only deals with property and financial matters, and enables your attorney to sign legally binding documents on your behalf. It does not give someone the right to make decisions about your lifestyle, medical treatment or welfare. These decisions are covered by an Enduring Guardianship.
It needs to be understood that a Power of Attorney ceases when you die, and the executor named in your Will will take over the responsibility of administering your estate.
In order to make a valid Power of Attorney you must be 18 years or over and have sufficient capacity to understand the nature and effect of the appointment. This means that at the time of making your Power of Attorney you understand:
- The authority your Power of Attorney will have and what sort of decisions they will be empowered to make;
- When and how your attorney will have the authority to exercise their power;
- The effect that your attorney’s actions could have on you, and;
- What options are open to you to cancel or change your attorney’s appointment in the future.
If you would like to discuss your Power Of Attorney, Will, Probate, Estate Planning or Contested Estate with one of our solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact our office on 1800 600 664, or send a message by completing the contact form.
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