Giving someone the ability to take control of your life and make decisions on your behalf is a big deal. It’s a decision that places your life in the hands of another. People appoint an attorney and/or enduring guardian for a variety of reasons, including illness, declining mental capacity, or when living abroad.
In order to appoint an attorney and/or enduring guardian, there are specific documents that must be prepared. There are also processes in place to ensure the appointment is legal and takes effect at the appropriate time.
Power of attorney and enduring guardianship forms are available to collect or download so you can complete them yourself. For an enduring document to come into play you will need these documents explained and signed off by a solicitor, otherwise the documents may not be valid. A solicitor will need to explain the documents to both yourself and your attorney and guardian to take effect.
In this blog, we explain the difference between power of attorney and enduring guardianship, before explaining the benefits of having your power of attorney and enduring guardianship documents prepared by a lawyer.
What is the difference between Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship?
A power of attorney document allows you (the principal) to appoint another person (the attorney) to manage and make decisions on your behalf in relation to your finances and property.
A power of attorney can be general or enduring. A general power of attorney is usually given for a specified period and ceases if the principal loses their mental capacity. An enduring guardianship is used when you want someone to make decisions on your behalf even when you have lost mental capacity.
While a power of attorney relates to financial and property decisions, an enduring guardianship allows another person to make decisions on your behalf in relation to health and lifestyle.
What are the benefits of having your power of attorney and enduring guardianship documents prepared by a lawyer?
Prepare the right documents
Should you appoint an attorney or enduring guardian? Do you need both? Do you need to prepare a general power of attorney or enduring power of attorney? A lawyer can review your situation and advise the best course of action according to your needs. There are different forms and documentation requirements associated with each of the above options and a lawyer can ensure the right documents are prepared to address your specific needs. It is wise to do an enduring power of attorney to assist should you lose capacity. The two documents complement each other and work side by side.
Deal with complex situations
Life isn’t straight forward and deciding how much power to give your attorney or enduring guardian can be complex. Issues surrounding mental health and capacity can also create complex situations. A lawyer can draft power of attorney and enduring guardianship documents to address your specific needs. This means they can place limits on the powers given to an attorney or guardian and ensure it comes into effect at a certain time or for a set period.
Ensure your attorney and/or enduring guardian has the right power
If you are appointing a power of attorney or enduring guardian, you will want to ensure you are giving them the right power. For example, a general power of attorney does not give an attorney the power to make decisions in relation to lifestyle or health, while an enduring guardian cannot make decisions relating to finances.
In addition to the right power, handing over control of some aspects of your life, such as property, will require additional steps. A lawyer will be well versed in all the necessary requirements and can ensure documents are prepared properly so your attorney or enduring guardian is equipped with all the necessary powers should the need arise.
The decisions made by an attorney or enduring guardian will be legally binding, so involving a lawyer in the preparation of documents is important for your own protection. Ensure you are giving the right authority to the right person at the right time.
Meet witness requirements
Witness requirements will be necessary for some documents and a lawyer can make this process simple and quick. A lawyer is among the list of authorised witnesses and can ensure your power of attorney or enduring guardianship meets all witness requirements.
Ensure all documents are valid
There is no room for mistakes when it comes to legal documents. Ensure your power of attorney or enduring guardianship is valid when it counts. A power of attorney or enduring guardianship that is deemed invalid could be distressing and costly for family members at a time when it is needed.
If you need to prepare a power of attorney or enduring guardianship documents to address a specific situation in your life or the life of a loved one, call us today on 1800 600 664 or contact us directly through the Taylor & Scott website.
At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.