Enduring Power of Attorney | Wills | POA
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document granting a person the power to make important decisions for you. Including financial, property and personal decisions.
It’s a crucial part of planning for the unknown.
One day, when you least expect it, you may be unable to make your own decisions.
For example, if you’re involved in an accident or you have a stroke. This is when an Enduring Power of Attorney becomes critical.
It allows someone you have entrusted as your chosen attorney to make financial and if you want personal decisions on your behalf in situations when you cannot make these decisions for yourself.
Most people appoint someone they trust implicitly. Such as a spouse, family member or close friend. You should have a lawyer to prepare this document for you to ensure it is valid and accurately reflects your wishes.
We’re happy to provide an estimate before you commit yourself.
We have fixed fees for Power of Attorney documents.
The fee includes meeting with you, drawing the documents, witnessing documents, sending statements of acceptances to attorneys and providing copies.
If you choose to have a complete suite of life administration documents drawn – Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker and Statement of Wishes the cost will be reduced.
At the same time you will have peace of mind that your life administration has been attended to.
An attorney is a person (or persons) who you appoint to manage your assets and finances.
The Attorney can assist you in the making of decisions whilst you are still capable of doing so or in the event you are no longer capable of managing your assets and finances the attorney can make decisions for you.
Your attorney can buy or sell real estate, operate your bank accounts and communicate on your behalf with banks and other financial institutions and government agencies such as Centrelink .
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a document which enables the person (or persons) of your choice to act in your place, and do the things you would normally do yourself.
Including signing documents, paying the bills and the rent, doing the banking. Your Attorney has the legal power to look after your affairs.
In the past, Powers of Attorney were mainly used for very specific purposes. For example, if you went overseas, you could give someone your POA to handle the sale of your home. Nowadays, a Power of Attorney is typically used to ensure another person can step in and do day-to-day things for you. These are the things that we often take for granted.
Example: You become very ill and you are unable to make decisions in relation to your finances. Your POA can do this for you.
Most financial planners and accountants strongly advise their clients have a POA in place. This safeguards your financial well being into the future.
Anyone who is over the age of 18. Preferably, spouse, child, children, near relative or a significant person in your life that you trust.
There have been changes to legislation applicable to Powers of Attorney in Victoria.
You should obtain the advice of a lawyer to learn which Power of Attorney document suits your circumstances best.
An ‘Enduring’ Power of Attorney is the most common type of Power of Attorney made these days. Why? It ‘endures’, even if you, the person giving the Power of Attorney, suffer unsoundness of mind.
Normally, a basic (‘General’) POA would become invalid as soon as you suffer the loss of capacity through unsoundness of mind. This is a protection given automatically by the law. Why? If you suffer the loss of legal capacity, you cannot cancel a POA you have given, so the law does it for you.
But, most people prefer to opt for an Enduring Power of Attorney so that it continues to be valid in the event you lose capacity.
If you have questions as to which type of attorney document you need please give one of our team members a call.
A General Power of Attorney is only valid while you are of sound mind. They are usually used for a specific purpose. Such as selling a property or making decisions for you while overseas.
A General Power of Attorney becomes void if you become ‘unsound of mind’ or you die, whichever occurs first.
How is an Enduring Power of Attorney different to a General Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney continues to be valid, even if you become of ‘unsound mind’. It enables your attorney to continue to manage your assets and financial affairs for you when you can’t do it for yourself.
An Enduring Power of Attorney ceases when you die.
What would you do if something happened that rendered you unable to understand, speak, communicate, or write? This means you wouldn’t have the legal capacity to make decisions.
By this time, it’s too late.
You can’t grant Power of Attorney if you don’t have the legal capacity to understand the Power of Attorney document itself and make decisions.
For example, a person who has suffered an irreversible problem, such as dementia or brain damage, may be unable to give Power of Attorney.
If you know a person who, due to age or health problems, may be at risk of suffering dementia, a stroke or any other serious illness, it might be a good idea to talk to them about giving Power of Attorney, before it’s too late.
If you don’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney and become of unsound mind, no person automatically has the right to manage your assets. Not even your husband or wife.
So what can you do?
If you don’t appoint anyone, and are unable to make a decision when it needs to be made, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) can appoint someone to make the decision, such as the Public Advocate or a trustee company. Source: Office of the Public Advocate.
The applicant would apply to become your financial manager.
If this person is not deemed fit by the Tribunal, the Tribunal may appoint the VIC Trustee and Guardian (‘TAG’) to manage your affairs.
Yes, there are many options here.
For example, you may want a Power of Attorney to come into effect from a certain date, or from the date you sign it. You may wish the Power of Attorney to come into operation only when you are overseas, or only if you suffer a loss of legal capacity.
Also, you can set a fixed time when the Power of Attorney is to cease. Such as when you return from an overseas holiday, or when you recover from illness.
You can even appoint more than one person to act as your Attorneys, either independently or together. Plus, you can choose another person as an alternate, should your preferred person be unable to take on the task.
Your Enduring Power of Attorney ends when you die, or when you revoke it, or when it is terminated by a court or VCAT.
Yes, you can change your mind after appointing an Attorney providing you still have capacity to revoke the document or make a new one.
Your lawyer can advise you of safeguards which can be built into your Power of Attorney document.
For example, you may decide that your Attorney needs to report to your Accountant at set intervals or you appoint more than one attorney so each can keep check on the other.
Additionally, the Power of Attorney may be conditional upon your doctor providing a medical certificate to state that you have suffered a loss of capacity through unsoundness of mind.
There are many ways to draft a Power of Attorney. You should discuss your options with us and we’ll prepare the document based on your requirements.
Step 1: Get in Touch. You can book an obligation-free phone consultation with one of our lawyers. It’s 100% confidential. No pressure. Or you call us or submit an online enquiry.
Step 2: When we speak with you on the phone we will ask some general questions so we can understand what your concerns are and how we can best help you. If you then want to schedule an appointment to discuss getting a Will, Power of Attorney or Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker done we can put that into place.
Step 3: We understand that coming to our office may not always be possible. You may simply want to avoid sitting in Melbourne traffic.
We can visit you at your home or we can schedule an online video meeting.
We know that these days people are always busy with children, work, keeping fit and life admin in general.
In addition to meeting with you at our office, at your home or online we can schedule appointments on the weekend or after normal business hours.
We look after clients across metropolitan Melbourne and in rural Victoria. We make regular visits to Bacchus Marsh and Ballarat in particular.
Prior to our meeting, we ask that you complete an online questionnaire. This will save your time and ours and allows us to concentrate on the important issues.
If you don’t have access to a computer or would prefer to provide the information face to face that’s fine. We will complete the form at our first meeting.
Our estate planning and life planning documents are charged at a fixed cost. Please refer to the Wills and Power of Attorney, Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker for further information.
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