Despite the ease and convenience of online banking, maybe you’ll (eventually) need help from others to handle your banking and finances. Have you thought about how you’re going to do that?
In New South Wales, the general power of attorney and enduring power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf in your legal and financial matters. If you need someone to look after you and make decisions regarding your health and welfare, this falls within the scope of an Enduring Guardianship that we’ll discuss in other articles. For now, the focus is really on the power of attorney and appointing someone to help you with your finances.
While appointing an attorney under a general power of attorney is relatively easy and straightforward (you can buy many DIY kits or download templates from the internet), the vulnerability of this document is that it ceases to be valid if you lose your mental capacity. That’s possibly when you need it the most! For example, if you’ve appointed someone to act on your behalf as your attorney under a general power of attorney, they only have authority to do things for you while you’re still able to make your own decisions. Your attorney is bound by the power of attorney and by the law to act on your behalf and in your best interest. However, if you lose your mental capacity (ie, through accident or illness etc), then the general power of attorney becomes invalid and your attorney is no longer authorised to act as your attorney. The solution to prevent this situation from arising is to appoint your attorney under an enduring power of attorney.
Making an enduring power of attorney is a little more complicated than a general power of attorney because it means you have to receive legal advice, the person who gives you the legal advice must also witness you sign the enduring power of attorney and they must sign a certificate confirming that they have given you the relevant legal advice. In most case, when clients ask us to make a power of attorney for them to appoint someone to help them look after their legal and financial matters, it’s to appoint that person under an enduring power of attorney.
We offer fixed fee services to make the enduring power of attorney complete with legal advice, witnessing and the necessary certificate.