VIDEO: Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Attorney

Whether you are 18 years of age or in your retirement years, it's important you have your Estate in order to avoid any unforeseen circumstances that may arise now or into the future. When you have your Will, Enduring Power of Attorney and Appointment of Enduring Guardian in place, then you can rest assured knowing that your Estate affairs will be looked after and that your loved ones will not be subjected to any unnecessary stress or concern.

In this video I will be covering Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Attorney.

A power of attorney is a legal document that grants someone else the authority to act on your behalf in specific legal or financial matters. This can include signing documents and making financial transactions.  A power of attorney can be revoked by the person who granted it at any time.

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a type of power of attorney that remains valid even if the person who granted it becomes mentally incapacitated. It is an important and powerful legal document that is put in place should you wish for one or more persons to act on your behalf in relation to your financial affairs and can be useful if you:

  1. have lost Capacity through illness or injury;
  2. are travelling;
  3. decide to live overseas; or,
  4. you prefer someone who has experience to manage all your finances.

It is important that you trust the person or people you are appointing to make financial decisions on your behalf.

The person creating this document is known as the Principal and the person or people nominated are referred to as the Attorneys.

The Attorneys have important powers which gives them the legal authority to manage the principal’s legal and financial affairs. Some examples can include:

  • Operating your Bank accounts
  • Dealing with Shares and other assets
  • Paying bills
  • Signing legal documents
  • Selling and Buying Real Estate (should you wish your Attorneys to sell or buy Real Estate on your behalf, then the Enduring Power of Attorney must be registered with the NSW Land Registry Services).

If you appoint more than one attorney, you can appoint them to either act:

  1. Jointly - (This means all decisions must be made by the Attorneys together and they must be present at the same time when attending financial institutions)
  2. Jointly and severally – (This is a more flexibility option between the Attorneys. They can make decisions alone or together. The Attorneys do not need to be present at the same time when attending financial institutions as this option allows them to work together or alone).

A Substituted Attorney can also be appointed in the event the Instituted Attorney vacates office.

Prior to the Attorneys accepting their duty to perform, they must:

  1. Always act in the principal's best interests.
  2. Keep their own money and property separate from the principal's money and property.
  3. Keep reasonable accounts and records of the principal's money and property.
  4. They cannot gain a benefit from being an attorney.
  5. They must act honestly in all matters concerning the principal's legal and financial affairs.

Failure to do any of the above may incur civil and/or criminal penalties.

An Enduring Power of Attorney does not deal with medical and lifestyle decisions.  Those issues are dealt within the Appointment of an Enduring Guardian that I will cover in my next video in this series.

If you would like further information on Enduring Powers of Attorney, please contact me at Maclarens Lawyers. 

For professional legal advice, contact Maclarens Lawyers on (02) 9682 3777

If you have a legal concern - business or personal - let Maclarens Lawyers help you.

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