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Power of Attorney

Sometimes called a living will, a power of attorney empowers someone trusted to you to make decisions on your behalf.  Generally, powers of attorney are broken up into 2 categories:

 

  1. General Power of Attorney

  2. Enduring Power of Attorney

 

The main difference between a general power of attorney and an enduring power of attorney is that the enduring power of attorney continues after the person who has granted the power (the Principal) has lost capacity.

 

A general power of attorney can be given by any adult person to another adult person to make decisions about financial matters, sign a document or do an act on their behalf.  These are often used in business and real estate transactions where the Principal is unable to do the task for any myriad of reasons, like they maybe in another country, and requires some other person (the Attorney) to undertake the task.

 

An enduring power of attorney grants power to an attorney to undertake responsibilities of a financial nature and or of a personal heath nature.  The Principal is able to elect when they wish for the enduring power of attorney to become effective.  This is usually when the Principal loses capacity and they are no longer able to make cognitive financial decisions of their own.  This is the time loved ones organise to have an assessment of the Principal, by a qualified geriatric physician, who on the basis that their tests find the principal incapacitated, then issues a medical certificate sanctioning the use of the enduring power of attorney by the attorney[s].   

A person can also elect to have several attorneys. Further still they can appoint different attorneys to deal with their financials matters and different attorneys to make decisions concerning personal health matters.  The enduring power of attorney can also specify terms or limit their attorney with how they manage or deal with certain assets of their estate. The document can be drafted to be quite specific and extensive depending on the complexity of a person’s affairs.  That is why it is important to discuss and have your enduring power of attorney prepared by a qualified lawyer.  At Evolution Legal we are experienced in dealing with the complex affairs of a person’s life and regularly prepare these documents for our clients.   

 

The reality is if you do not have an enduring power of attorney and subsequently lose the capacity to manage your own affairs, your family will be left with the stress and burden of having to deal with the arduous job of making an application to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have someone appointed to be your legal guardian. It is possible that the Public Guardian could be appointed for your personal health affairs and the Public Trustee for your financial affairs. The matter will be taken out of your hands.

Contact our skilled Gold Coast will lawyers at Evolution Legal who would be pleased to provide you with the necessary advice and draft your enduring power of attorney specific to your individual needs.