The who, what and why of appointing a Power of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney?  

 A Power of Attorney is a legal document that you can use to designate someone or a trustee organisation to manage your assets and make financial and legal decisions on your behalf.  

There are two types of Power of Attorney documents in New South Wales.  

An Enduring Power of Attorney can continue to make financial and legal decisions even after you lose the capacity to do so yourself.  

A General Power of Attorney can only make financial and legal decisions on your behalf only while you still have the capacity to do so yourself.  

Why do you need a Power of Attorney?  

Appointing a Power of Attorney is an excellent precaution to have in place in case you experience a temporary or permanent loss of capacity. Due to the unpredictable nature of illness, disability, or injury, this could occur at any time.  

In the absence of a Power of Attorney document, your assets may have to be managed by someone chosen by a Court or Tribunal. 

You may consider appointing someone to oversee your finances if you are overseas or if you prefer to have someone with experience to manage your funds. For example, a General Power of Attorney could be appointed for a certain time frame to assist with settling a property if you were overseas.  

What can they do?  

An Attorney can carry out almost any financial purpose unless specific limitations have been outlined in the Power of Attorney document. They can manage bank accounts, pay bills, collect rent, purchase or sell property, and enter into legal agreements on your behalf, i.e., a lease.  

An Attorney does not have the authority to make any medical decisions on your behalf. You can designate an individual as your Enduring Guardian to make such decisions. Castrikum Adams Legal can assist you to put in place a valid Enduring Guardian so there is someone to make health, medical or lifestyle decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity.  

Who should you choose?  

You can choose a close friend, family member, solicitor, or an organisation to act as your Power of Attorney. It is crucial to give significant thought to your ideal Attorney and consider if they have the time and ability to take on this role. It is recommended to choose someone that will act in your best interests, understands your wishes, values, and culture, and respects your right to confidentiality.  

If you would like to designate more than one person, you must determine whether the attorneys will act jointly or jointly and severally. “Jointly” specifies all attorneys are required to make decisions together as a group. “Jointly and Severally” specifies that any or all attorneys may act on your behalf independently of each other. If you appoint more than 3 attorneys, you may wish to specify that a simple majority must agree before any decisions are made.  

You may also deliberate appointing a Substitute Attorney in your document. This can be helpful if your first Attorney is unable to act on your behalf, leaves the country, or vacates their position.  

How can I appoint a Power of Attorney?   

At Castrikum Adams Legal, we understand the gravity of the Power of Attorney document and are deeply committed to addressing your specific needs with the utmost care and a personalised approach.  

Safeguard your future by calling Castrikum Adams Legal today on (02) 6687 1167 and let us be your comprehensive guide in navigating this significant legal document.