Future planning is essential
There may be some instances in life where you may need to nominate someone to act on your behalf to manage your legal and financial affairs, or circumstances where you require support from someone to make decisions while maintaining your independence and autonomy.
To capture this process formally a Power of Attorney is required. At W Legal Group, we have a team of lawyers dedicated to providing this service.
How It Works
Step 1: Chat with W Legal Group
Contact us to book a time with our lawyers to discuss who you’d like to appoint and what the appointee may decide on your behalf.
Step 2: We will prepare your Power of Attorney
We will put together your Power of Attorney capturing your instructions.
Step 3: Sign your Power of Attorney
Once it is drafted, your Power of Attorney is ready to be signed and witnessed. You may sign and witness the power of attorney with us. Alternatively, you may complete it with someone else.
Step 4: Safe and secure storage
Store the completed power of attorney in a safe and secure place. You may choose to store it with us or keep it elsewhere, the option is yours.
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What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document which allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. The scope, duration and operation of the authority are determined by you.
For example, you may choose to appoint an attorney to sign legal documents on your behalf while you are away travelling, or to assist with communicating decisions to banks and utility providers.
What are the responsibilities of the attorney?
The attorney must act in your best interest and avoid circumstances with conflict of interest. This includes acting honestly, diligently and in good faith; exercising reasonable skill and care; not profiting from the position unless authorised; and keeping accounts of records.
Additionally, the attorney cannot consent to unlawful acts, make decisions about the care of the your children, revoke a will, and vote on your behalf.
When does the Power of Attorney end?
Certain events may trigger a power of attorney to end, such as if you choose to revoke the power of attorney.
Depending on the jurisdiction, the attorney will not be able to make decisions on your behalf if they pass, go bankrupt or if there is a conflict of interest (e.g. they become your primary carer).
The attorney may also choose to resign from the authority, however, this may occur in limited circumstances.
Who can I appoint as my Power of Attorney?
The attorney must be at least 18 years of age and must have decision-making capacity. It is important to choose the right person as they will be making important decisions affecting your life. The person must be able to:
- Understand information pertaining to the decision
- Understand the effect and consequences of the decision
- Assess and weigh the information to make the decision
- Communicate the decision accordingly
You must choose your attorney carefully as these arrangements can be taken advantage of
What are the different types of Power of Attorneys?
A General Power of Attorney allows the attorney to make only financial decisions on your behalf while you have full decision-making capacity. A General Power of Attorney will only last for a set amount of time determined by you.
An Enduring Power of Attorney will be valid for an indefinite (i.e. “enduring”) amount of time, and attorneys can make both financial and personal decision on your behalf. If you lose capacity and can no longer make or understand your own decisions, only an Enduring Power of Attorney will be valid.
A Supportive Power of Attorney can assist you with making financial, personal or other decisions, while you still have capacity. They cannot act completely on your behalf and make decisions for you.
Ultimately, the main differences lie in the decision-making powers granted, and how long the attorney’s power stands.
Can an appointed attorney make medical decisions under an enduring power of attorney?
In short, no.
For medical decisions, you will need to appoint a medical treatment decision-maker. An appointed medical treatment decision-maker will have the legal authority to make medical treatment decisions when you are no longer able to do so.