Powers of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document authorising a person (referred to as an attorney) to act on your behalf in relation to your:
- Financial and/or Personal decisions; and
- Medical Treatment decisions.
How many people can I appoint as my attorney?
With regards to your Power of Attorney, you can appoint up to four people to act as your attorney at a time and they can act either jointly, or independently of eachother.
For your Medical Treatment decision maker, you can only appoint one person to act a time.
In both cases, it is prudent to also appoint alternative attorneys should your primary attorney be unwilling or unable to act.
What should consider when preparing a Power of Attorney?
Powers of Attorney are completely customizable to cater for your needs. Some examples of factors to consider when planning for a Power of Attorney are:
- When is the power of attorney to commence? Is it on a certain date or on the occurrence of a certain event (e.g. when you lose mental or physical capacity to make the decisions on your own behalf)?
- How long is the power of attorney meant to last? Are the powers granted to be enduring, or will they cease after a certain date? This is particularly useful if you are going overseas for an extended period and would like to authorise someone in Australia to act on your behalf in financial matters such as the sale of a property or general financial management of your affairs.
- Are the powers granted under the power of attorney to be limited only for certain purposes? For example, to enter into a transaction such as the purchase or sale of property?
- Are you the director of a company and planning a trip interstate or overseas? If so, consider whether or not a corporate power of attorney is necessary to delegate your powers as a director during your absence.
We need to prepare for the possibility that at some stage in life we may no longer be in a position to manage our own financial, personal or medical affairs.
Should something occur suddenly which renders you incapable of making such decisions on your own accord, then having an attorney in place will provide peace of mind that trusted individuals will quickly be able to make and enact the necessary decisions on your behalf in your best interests. Otherwise your loved ones will need to go through the costly process of applying to VCAT to effectively be given the same powers that could have been provided by preparing Powers of Attorney.
If it’s time to prepare your Medical and Financial Power of Attorney, or would like a free review of your documents, please call or email us.