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Why everyone needs someone to speak for them

By Tara Hurley - 4 May 2011

You never know what's around the corner - but you can plan for it.

By establishing an Enduring Power of Attorney, you can ensure that if something happens that prevents you from looking after your affairs, there is someone with the legal authority to do so.

It is important that everybody, regardless of age, has an Enduring Power of Attorney in place. It gives your nominated person the authority to manage your affairs when you are no longer able to.

There are two kinds of enduring power of attorney

1.     Property Enduring Power of Attorney

This gives one or more people the authority to deal with your assets, such as your bank accounts or your house. You can choose whether your attorney has authority to deal with your assets now or only if you become mentally incapacitated.

2.    Personal Care and Welfare Enduring Power of Attorney

This gives your attorney authority to make decisions relating to your personal situation, such as what medical treatment you receive or where you live. You can only have one Personal Care and Welfare attorney and the authority will only come into effect if you are mentally incapacitated.

You have the final say, even if you can't speak

You can set restrictions and place conditions on what your attorney(s) can do under the Powers of Attorney. You can also set out who you want your attorney to consult with or provide information to when making decisions on your behalf.

If you do not have a Power of Attorney in place and you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself, a family member must apply for a Court Order to be able to manage your affairs. This can be time consuming and costly. And you don't get to choose which family member…

Recent amendments to the law mean that attorney documents must be witnessed and explained to you by a solicitor, legal executive or officer of the Public Trust. This ensures you get ample opportunity to create a Power of Attorney document that suits you.

If you want to know more about Powers of Attorney, or if you want one put in place, please contact Tara Hurley at Martelli McKegg.


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