Power of Attorney
You can legally appoint one or more people to manage your financial affairs, under Power of Attorney regulations.
There are two types of Power of Attorney (POA):
- General Power of Attorney: This is used for specific times such as during an overseas trip or a temporary illness.
- Enduring Power of Attorney: This provides a longer term authority, including situations where the person involved no longer has capacity.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is the best one for people who want to make long-term plans and cover themselves for the possibility of losing capacity to make their own financial decisions in the future.
Who should you appoint?
Appointing someone as your Power of Attorney is a serious matter as the person will be able to manage and make decisions about your financial affairs, to the extent you have specified in their appointment. It is good to let family and friends know whom you have appointed.
It needs to be someone trustworthy and competent.
They need to act in your best interest always, keep your money and assets separate from their own and be able to account for how they have managed your money and assets.
You can appoint more than one person as your Attorney and you can normally specify if they need to act separately or together.
You can also specify certain conditions such as when the power of attorney will take effect and what types of decisions can be made.
Get legal advice
Because this is a big decision and there are a number of issues that will be relevant to each person’s situation, it is recommended that you get legal advice in appointing someone as your Power of Attorney. This could be through a private solicitor, community legal centre or public trustee/advocacy service.
While the general principles underlying Power of Attorney are common across Australia, the forms, terms used, regulations and witnesses required vary among the states and territories.
It is vital that you use the appropriate forms for where you live.
Worksheet 1.2: organising your finances
Complete the worksheet by downloading a blank copy and filling it in.