Powers of Attorney

What is a power of attorney?

There are two types of power of attorney—a general power of attorney and an enduring power of attorney. A general power of attorney is given to someone to make financial decisions on your behalf (e.g. if you are overseas and need someone else to sell your house, pay your bills etc). An enduring power of attorney is put in place in the event something happens to you (such as illness or accident) to allow someone else to make health and financial decisions on your behalf.

 

What happens if I don’t have an enduring power of attorney?

In short the government Adult Guardian and Public Trustee will be appointed to manage your affairs regardless of whether you have family members willing to make decisions for you or not. Whilst the Adult Guardian can take into account your previous expressed wishes and wishes of your family it is not bound to do so. General and enduring powers of attorney involve a formal agreement giving someone else the power to make decisions on your behalf. Creating a power of attorney is not complicated and involves the following steps: 

  • signing a form giving power of attorney to someone of your choice; 
  • specifying the types of decisions that the person you choose (your attorney) will make on your behalf; and
  • your attorney consenting to the appointment by signing the acceptance section of the form.

Your attorney can then act on your behalf if necessary.

The decisions that your attorney makes for you have the same legal force as if you had made them yourself. Often in conjunction with a simple Will, Ellison Moschella & Co can assist you in preparing and finalising your Enduring Powers of Attorney for a quoted price.

 

Why do I need an Enduring Power of Attorney?

None of us want to answer the big “What if” questions. What if you have an accident and are in a coma? What if you travel overseas and have complications which delay your return?

An Enduring Power of Attorney gives the person or people you trust the ability to make decisions on your behalf in relation to financial matters, they can access your bank accounts or mortgage or even sell your property should the need arise. For health matters, they can make decisions on your day to day care and medication, unless you have an Advance Health Directive.