A power of attorney form is a legal document where you give someone else the power to handle your affairs. They come in two types – General and Enduring.
General Powers of Attorney
These are used mainly for Companies as they have limited provisions for personal application. A General Power of Attorney ceases if you become mentally incapable of handling your affairs, for example if you suffer a stroke and in a coma. However, if you have an Enduring Power of Attorney this continues even if you are incapable of handling your own affairs.
Enduring Powers of Attorneys
These can only be used by natural persons. You use an EPA to appoint another trusted person to handle your financial matters and/or your personal and health care matters.
The Powers of Attorney Act enables you to specify what areas the attorney can act for you in and when the power is to commence. You can use the form to give clear instructions to your attorney in acting on your behalf.
To make any Power of Attorney you need to be over the age of 18 years old and be capable of understanding the nature and effect of the power that you are conferring upon your attorney. It is a good idea to grant a Power of Attorney whilst you have the capacity to do so because once you have lost the capacity you can not appoint an attorney.
You may also consider appointing an attorney if you will be away on a trip for extended periods of time and if you expect to be admitted to hospital in the near future or if you have a condition that is likely to effect your decision-making abilities.
You should choose carefully whom you appoint to be your attorney as they will have a great deal of power over your affairs. The person cannot be a bankrupt or your paid carer (this does not include somebody on a government carer’s pension).
You can specify when the EPA commences. If you do not specify then the EPA will commence immediately upon signing for financial matters. For personal/health matters your attorney can make decisions only after you lose the ability to make such decisions and to communicate these decisions yourself.
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