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A quick guide for you to understand the basics about Power of Attorney & how it can help.

No one can predict the future but it is upon us to make wise decisions that can help in ensuring a better one. 

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document through which you can appoint a Person on whom you have faith & trust (Attorney) - to carry out financial or specific major decisions on your behalf. By making a Power of Attorney you are planning ahead. 

It lets your trusted Attorney be in control of your affairs when you are unable to take care of them yourself due to unavailability or medical conditions.

Types of Power of Attorney

You can appoint Attorneys for Financial and Personal matters under General Power of Attorney & Enduring Power of Attorney. For Medical matters you can appoint a Medical Treatment Decision Maker. 

The points below lays out the main differences of each:

  1. General Power of Attorney
    This type of Power of Attorney is usually set for a specified time. It can only be valid as long as you (Principal/Donor) are capable of acting for yourself. If the Donor dies or becomes mentally incompetent, the Power of Attorney is no longer valid.
  2. Enduring Power of Attorney
    This document relates to both Financial and Personal matters.  As this Power of Attorney is Enduring it means that it will last your lifetime even once you have lost capacity to look after your own affairs. However, do note that incase of death both general & enduring Power of Attorney would no longer be applicable. 

    Your Will and Power of attorney are different legal documents which can’t be substitutes for each other. A will designates the distribution of your assets or property after death - you can learn more about Wills here.

    You can appoint either a sole person as your attorney, or multiple people in various different holdings.

    Under the Financial section of your Enduring Power of Attorney, some tasks your attorney could undertake would be:
    - Banking
    - Paying bills
    - Dealing with Real Estate
    - Signing certain documentation
  3. Authority to Appoint a Medical Treatment Decision Maker
    Like the Enduring Power of Attorney you can appoint either one person as your Medical Attorney or several.  You cannot however appoint people jointly.

    By appointing a Medical Treatment Decision Maker you ensure that there is someone you trust who can make decisions relating to your health when you cannot make those decisions yourself. 

    If your Health Care Practitioner cannot seek consent or instructions from you relating to your care they will make contact with your appointed Decision Maker and request their advice, unless it’s an emergency, or you have consented to or refused a particular treatment by way of an Advance Care Directive. 

    When making your Authority to Appoint a Medical Treatment Decision Maker, we can provide you with the relevant form relating to an Advance Care Directive. This is a legal document that records your preferences and instructions in relation to your medical treatment and your values surrounding your medical treatment.

    Your Medical Treatment Decision Maker must make medical treatment decisions they reasonably believe you would make if you had decision-making capacity yourself.  It is therefore important that when making this document that you discuss your wishes and or requirements with your Decision Maker.

Conclusion

By making Power of Attorney documents you are choosing who will take control of your affairs when you can’t. Not only is it giving yourself peace of mind, but it is also assisting and making things easier for your family members.  If a time comes where decisions need to be made relating to your finances and or medical state, and documentation isn’t in place, you risk someone you don’t trust or want being appointed to take control of your affairs.  You can limit the powers given to your attorney or place certain conditions on their appointment. 

If you would like more advice about power of attorney, or which power to use in your situation, we can advise you on your options. We can also customise specific terms that you would wish your Attorney to follow. The process is fast, convenient & only a quick form away.

If you prefer to call us - we are reachable on 9743 1333