If you are considering a Power of Attorney, you must know the difference between a General Power of Attorney and the Enduring Power of Attorney.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives authority for someone or several people to act on your behalf regarding the management of your affairs. This includes financial and legal matters, for example, buying/selling shares, managing an investment property or operating a bank account.
Appointing an attorney can be beneficial if you are unable to manage your affairs in the future. This may arise if become ill, are travelling overseas, or are unable to attend a financial institution, real estate agency, or government office.
A General Power of Attorney
A General Power of Attorney gives authority for someone to act on your behalf concerning financial matters. This may include broad or specific decisions such as managing your investment property while you are on holidays.
Once the legal document is signed by you and accepted by the nominated Power of Attorney, your Power of Attorney is valid but will expire if you are no longer have the capacity to make decisions.
Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney is similar to a General Power of Attorney but this type of authority continues even if you lose your decision-making capacity. This is beneficial if you lose the ability to manage your affairs due to illness or ageing. To make an Enduring Power of Attorney, you need to have the mental capacity to do so. This is why you should be assigning about your Power of Attorney before you need them.
Choosing a Power of Attorney
Giving someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf is an important decision. Choose someone that you trust and someone who will act in your best interests. An attorney can be a family member, a friend or someone else that you trust as long as they are at least 18 years old, are not bankrupt or insolvent and are not your paid carer, health provider, or accommodation provider.
If you don’t appoint an Enduring Power of Attorney and are unable to decisions, a public advocate or a trustee company may be assigned on your behalf. Creating a Power of Attorney can give you confidence that your affairs will always be in trusted hands.
Do I need a Power of Attorney?
Most Australian adults should consider assigning a Power of Attorney. The future is always uncertain. A well-drafted Power of Attorney will facilitate the management of your legal and financial affairs when you are unable to.
We encourage you to seek the advice of an estate planning professional to understand your options, the possible outcomes of your decisions, and make sure they align with your goals and objectives.
Learn more about APS legal services here.