Powers of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a document which allows you to appoint a person or persons to make decisions for you at certain times throughout your lifetime. The document allows your attorney(s) to make decisions about your personal, health and/or financial matters.

There are two different types of Power of Attorney:

  1. General Power of Attorney (which ends if you lose capacity); and
  2. Enduring Power of Attorney (which continues if you lose capacity).

Appointing an Enduring Power of Attorney is an important part of planning for your advanced years as it makes sure that you have measures in place in case, at some point in the future you are no longer able to make decisions by yourself.

Can I make a Power of Attorney?

To make a Power of Attorney, you must be over 18 years of age and have decision-making capacity to understand the contents and powers of the document. You should not make a Power of Attorney if you are being pressured by someone. A Power of Attorney should only be entered into freely and voluntarily.

When might I have a General Power of Attorney?

A General Power of Attorney can be put in place to allow your attorney(s) to make decisions on financial matters (not health and personal matters) for you whilst you still have capacity. You can appoint your attorney(s) to act for you for a specific period or event.

You may consider making a General Power of Attorney if you will be unable to attend to your financial affairs for a period of time, such as while working/travelling overseas or while recovering from a surgery/health condition. A General Power of Attorney may also be useful if you need assistance in selling your house or managing your personal finances, including paying bills.

It is important to remember that a General Power of Attorney is not for future planning. It only functions while you have capacity and can make decisions for yourself. Once you lose capacity, your General Power of Attorney ends, and your attorney(s) no longer have rights to make decisions on financial matters for you.

Why should I have an Enduring Power of Attorney?

It is important to have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place in case you unexpectedly suffer from a temporary or permanent loss of capacity and are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Unfortunately, many people do not appoint an Enduring Power of Attorney while they are well, and then once they suffer from a permanent loss of capacity it is too late to appoint the person or people of their choosing.

If you do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place before you lose capacity, someone may be appointed to manage your affairs and you may not be able to have a say in who this person is. Indeed, it may be someone who you would not have chosen for yourself to be your Attorney and in charge of your personal affairs.

When should I make Enduring Power of Attorney?

Once a person turns 18, and if they have the capacity to do so, it is never too soon to make an Enduring Power of Attorney.

Unfortunately, you can never predict when something may happen to you unexpectedly, causing you to lose capacity; for example, mental illness, accident, injury or disability.

What’s involved in creating a Power of Attorney?

Creating a Power of Attorney (General or Enduring) involves completing a form which is provided by the Queensland Government.

You can use the form to appoint attorney(s) for:

  • personal and health matters only;
  • financial matters only; or
  • personal, health and financial matters.

As a Power of Attorney can significantly affect your legal rights, you should seek advice from IM Lawyers before you complete a Power of Attorney form.

Call for a free initial consult:  1800 001 339

How long does it take to prepare a Power of Attorney?

The time taken to prepare your Power of Attorney (General or Enduring) is dependent on the complexity of your wishes.

Generally, a Power of Attorney may take a few weeks to complete but could take longer if you decide to complete other documents, such as a Will and Advanced Health Directive at the same time.

Where should I store my Power of Attorney?

It is a good idea to have a few copies of your Power of Attorney. All copies should be stored in a safe place and you should ensure that your nominated attorney(s) know where a copy is stored. You may like to store your Power of Attorney yourself or if you would like to keep your Power of Attorney with us, we are able to store it for you.

We can also provide you with certified copies of your Power of Attorney documents for your records.

How IM Lawyers can help

At IM Lawyers we have the expertise to assist you in preparing a Power of Attorney to suit your personal circumstances. Preparing your Enduring Power of Attorney once you turn 18, will protect your interests should you require it when you unexpectedly lose capacity.

Call now to arrange an initial free consultation

1800 001 339 info@imlawyers.com.au

It costs you nothing to find out where you stand.

For many Estate Planning matters, we will set a fixed rate so you can understand the costs upfront.

Generally, this fixed rate will depend on the complexity of the work.  We can review initial documents and have initial discussions with you for free. This enables us to be able to accurately provide a fixed rate to you.