Power of Attorney
Who needs a Power of Attorney?
Everyone over the age of 18 should nominate a power of attorney. Particularly, you should have a power of attorney if you:
- Are going to be away for an extended period of time; or
- You want to make sure that your family and friends can manage your finances and legal rights in the event of an accident or if something happens and you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a very important document. It provides for a person that you choose (who is called your Attorney) to be able to act for you in relation to your financial affairs and legal rights and responsibilities.
What can my Attorney do?
This depends on any restrictions that you place on your Attorney. The restriction can be used to limit what your Attorney can do for you. For example you might limit it to allow the attorney to pay household expenses and repairs while you are on holidays only or you could make it so that your Attorney can exercise all your legal rights and deal with all of your financial affairs such as buying and selling your property or taking or defending legal action in your name.
When can I appoint a Power of Attorney?
You can appoint a Power of Attorney at any time once you are over the age of 18 but you must be mentally capable of making and understanding the impact and seriousness of the power that you are giving. If you do not have the mental capacity you are unable to appoint an Attorney.
When does my Attorney get this power?
The Power of Attorney document will specify when your attorney gets the power. If you were going on a holiday and wanted your attorney to look after your property while you were away you could limit the power to a specific date range. You can make the power available to the Attorney immediately or you could make it available on a triggering event such as loss of health or mental capacity.
How long does my Attorney have the power to act for me?
This depends on a number of things. If you appoint an enduring power of attorney, then your Attorney will have the power until such time as you recover from your ailment and can make these decisions for your self. If you do not recover, then your Attorney will exercise this power until you die. You can revoke this power whilever you have the mental capacity to do so. If you only appoint an Attorney for a set period of time, the power is automatically revoked at the expiration for that time frame or if you lose mental capacity.