Powers Of Attorney
First Class Legal can help you with Powers of Attorney. The main types of Powers of Attorney in Victoria are:
• A General Power of Attorney which appoints someone to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. This type of power of attorney ceases to have any effect if you become incapable (eg illness or accident). This type of power of attorney is often limited by a specific time period and/or purpose. For example, if you are going overseas and need someone to manage your financial affairs whilst you are away or sign an auction contract on your behalf.
• An Enduring Power of Attorney is used to appoint someone to make legal and financial decisions for you. This can operate from the date you sign it (and the Attorney accepts the appointment) or can be limited to operating only in the event that you lose the capacity to make those decisions yourself.
• Enduring Power of Attorney (Medical Treatment) is used to appoint someone to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them yourself.
When should I make a Power of Attorney?
Before you need it! These documents safeguard your interests in the event of something unforeseen – an accident or illness that robs you of your capacity to make decisions for yourself.
It is better to be prepared and confident in knowing that the person you choose will be making important decisions about your money, your living arrangements and your health.
When does it start?
For a General or Enduring Power of Attorney, it begins when you nominate that it should.
Powers of Attorney (Medical Treatment) only commence when you are unable to make your own decisions.
Who should I appoint to be my Attorney?
You need to appoint someone whom you trust to make the right decisions.
With a General Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney, you can appoint more than one person to make the decisions jointly or jointly and severally. Jointly and severally mean that all can act together or separately.
You can only appoint one medical treatment attorney.
What are the legal responsibilities of my Attorney?
They are legally responsible to you and they must act in your best interests.
What happens to any Power of Attorney if I die?
They all cease on death. Your Will (or the laws of intestacy if you have no Will) then apply.
Who should I talk to about it?
It is really important that you discuss these documents with a lawyer who can give you professional advice about your particular circumstances. It’s also vital that you discuss your wishes with your family to avoid unnecessary conflict and stress.
Do I need a witness?
A General Power of Attorney does not need to be witnessed but both the financial and medical treatment Powers of Attorney need to be
witnessed by a person capable of witnessing an Affidavit eg a solicitor.
Can I change my mind?
Yes. As long as you still have the decision making capacity to do so, you can revoke or change these documents. This has to be done in a legally binding way, however, so please seek legal advice.
Contact our office to find out more or to arrange an appointment.