No matter what your age, having powers of attorney in place to look after you, and manage your affairs and if you are unable, is wise planning.
A power of attorney is a written authority a person gives to another person or persons (the attorney/s) to act on their behalf. There are two types of power of attorney – an ordinary power of attorney valid only while a donor has mental capacity to make decisions, and the more common enduring power of attorney (“EPA”) valid even when a donor does not have mental capacity to make decisions. The enduring version is the most common.
There are two different kinds of EPA’s: Personal Care and Welfare, and Property – and there are specific legal requirements for the signing, witnessing and certification of power of attorney documents. Importantly, a person cannot give a power of attorney once he or she loses mental capacity, and a power of attorney is automatically cancelled when a donor dies.
Some of the options a person may consider when giving a power of attorney could include specifying people who are to be consulted or kept informed (but who do not make decisions), who is to assess mental capacity, whether or not the attorney can act to benefit themselves, and whether a successor (alternate) attorney is named.
Whomever you choose to give power of attorney to, you should be satisfied that they are capable of acting in your best interests, and that they will make decisions that reflect your views and wishes. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and we are happy for you to make contact to discuss your needs, and we'll also email or post you out a free legal information guide about Powers of Attorney.