When assigning a power of attorney, the principal is giving another person the authority to make personal and financial decisions for them. Territories in Australia have different proceedings for how to become a power of attorney and the responsibilities once a person is appointed a power of attorney. Make sure you are researching the correct territory when looking for information. There are two types of power of attorney.
A general power of attorney is appointed to make financial decisions for you during a specific period of time. For example, if you are leaving the country for an extended period of time and you need someone to be in charge of paying your bills while you are away. You are still able to make decisions on your own during a general power of attorney’s appointment. Their power will end when you are no longer in the proper capacity to make decisions on your own. Losing capacity to make decisions begins when you do not:
- Understand the nature and effect of a decision
- Freely and voluntarily make a decision
- Communicate a decision
An enduring power of attorney is a legal document where you appoint a decision maker to make your decisions for you. If appointed power of attorney, they would sign a form stating that they understand the obligations, as well as, the consequences if they fail to comply with the obligations. An enduring power of attorney could be appointed for financial and/or personal decisions.
Enduring power of attorneys can only make decisions about matters that were appointed to them and only after the role of attorney starts. A financial decision such as undertaking a real estate transaction, paying expenses and bills, and making money available for the person’s personal use are some of the responsibilities you will take on if you are appointed financial matters. Being appointed in personal matters can include services that may be needed for the principal and the living environment.
Though powers of attorneys do hold a lot of power with matters of the principal’s life, they are also limited to decisions they can make. An attorney cannot make medical treatment decisions unless it is stated they’re also the principal’s medical treatment decision maker. As a power of attorney, they cannot vote, make decisions about the care of children, create or alter a will, create a new enduring power of attorney, consent a marriage, adoption decisions, manage the principal’s estate upon their death, consent to illegal acts, or enter in surrogacy arrangements.
**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.