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What is Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (PoA) is used to enable a representative who you choose, who is known as your ‘attorney’, to make decisions regarding your finances and contracts.

An Enduring Power of Attorney works on the same principle of choosing a representative or attorney.  However, it varies in that it continues to be effective after a person loses mental capacity, while a general Power of Attorney document is not legally effective after a person loses mental capacity.

Brander Smith McKnight’s expert wills and estates lawyers can assist you with the meticulous and careful drafting of legally binding and effective Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney documents.

Our team of experienced wills and estates lawyers can also ensure that you fully understand the implication of these documents and the responsibilities that they create.

Why should I appoint someone as a Power of Attorney?

  • You may want to consider appointing a Power of Attorney if:
  • You want someone to manage your financial affairs whilst you are outside of the country
  • You want someone to buy and sell property on your behalf
  • You want the confidence that your financial affairs can be handled in circumstances where you cannot take care of them yourself

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

What are the responsibilities of a Power of Attorney?

PoA documents typically provide that someone who is appointed as your attorney must:

  • Keep their assets separate from yours
  • Keep records of any actions taken in relation to your financial affairs
  • Avoid conflicts of interests
  • Obey your instructions
  • Not misappropriate your funds

Why BSM Lawyers

We always take the time to listen carefully and thoroughly to your needs and requirements, we then advise on the most appropriate documents and structure for you.

Our lawyers meticulously draft your documents and then provide you with the opportunity to review these prior to finalisation.
We pride ourselves on creating watertight documents to minimise future risks in a cost-effective manner. We have a fixed fee for Power of Attorney documents. Compare our very competitive prices.

Brander Smith McKnight Lawyers also provide professional legal advice and advocacy for executors in any estate including distribution and contested estates.

We have offices conveniently located in Sutherland, Parramatta, Wollongong and Sydney CBD.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

FAQs

chevronHow much does a Power of Attorney document cost?

Brander Smith McKnight’s wills and estates lawyers provide meticulously drafted PoA documents at a fixed highly competitive fee.  We provide a premium and personalised service at a very low cost.

chevronWhat is the difference between Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney?

The main difference between a PoA and an Enduring PoA, is that an Enduring PoA continues to operate even when the person who has granted the PoA has suffered a loss of capacity.

chevronHow can I stop a PoA?

You can cancel a PoA in writing.

To do this, you must give written notice to your lawyer that the PoA has been cancelled.

chevronWhat is the difference between Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship?

Enduring guardianship refers to the appointment of a person who is allowed to make decisions relating to your health and lifestyle in circumstances where you cannot make these decisions for yourself.

Enduring guardianship is distinct from the PoA because it does not authorise a person to make financial decisions on your behalf.

chevronShould I draft a PoA document myself?

Whilst you can prepare a PoA document yourself it may not be wise to do so. You should consider having a lawyer draft a PoA document for you to ensure that it is both legally valid and properly reflects your intentions. In addition, a lawyer can fully explain to you all aspects of a Power of Attorney document to ensure you understand its effect.

chevronWho should I appoint as a PoA?

You can appoint anyone above the age of 18 as your PoA.

It is recommended that you appoint someone who has your complete trust as your PoA. This could be a spouse, family member or close friend who you can trust to act on your behalf.

chevronWhat can I do if my PoA is abusing their authority?

Legal action can be taken against a PoA that is abusing their authority. What legal action can be taken will depend on the capacity of the person who has appointed the PoA.

It is important to note, that having a PoA document professionally drafted by a lawyer can assist in mitigating the chance of any abuse of an attorney’s authority.

For more information on how we can help with a PoA who is abusing their authority, please contact BSM Lawyers

chevronWhen will a Power of Attorney document take effect?

When a general PoA document will take effect is a decision that should be considered by the person appointing an attorney. For example, an appointer may wish to have the document take effect immediately, during a defined period of time or following your attorney’s agreement to the appointment. You should consider seeking legal advice to explore the various options relating to when a PoA document will take effect.

chevronWhat is capacity?

In the context of Power of Attorney documents, capacity refers to a person’s ability to understand, communicate and evaluate their choices. For example, where a mental illness or accident has rendered a person incapable of comprehending health care choices presented to them, they may not be considered as having the legal capacity to make those choices.

An Enduring Power of Attorney document will be effective even where a party has lost the capacity to make decisions for themselves.

For more information on the concept of capacity, please contact our wills and estate lawyers who will happy to assist.

chevronShould I use an online Power of Attorney template?

Whilst you can access Power of Attorney document templates online, you should consider having a wills and estates lawyer draft the document. This will ensure that the Power of Attorney document is tailored to your circumstances and instructions. Having a Power of Attorney document drafted by a lawyer also ensures that it is legally effective. A lawyer can also fully explain the terms of a Power of Attorney document to you.

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