All Australian States and Territories have provision to appoint someone to have Power of Attorney for financial and property matters.  In NSW, NT, SA and WA this is the extent to which the role applies.  However, in the ACT, QLD and VIC Enduring Power of Attorney can also cover both personal and health care decisions.   The information outlined below only relates to financial matters.  

By appointing someone to have Power of Attorney you can make sure someone you trust will attend to your financial matters if you are unable to do so, or if you would prefer someone did it for you.

How many types of Power of Attorney are there?

There are two types of Power of Attorney.

General Power of Attorney

You appoint this to a trusted person for a specific period of time or purpose.  Perhaps you are going overseas or into hospital and need someone to manage your affairs for a short time.  Maybe you need help with selling your home. You can also appoint a General Power of Attorney to allow someone to manage your day-to-day financial affairs.  They can pay your bills or meet home maintenance costs.   This type of Power of Attorney stops operating if you lose the capacity to make decisions.

Enduring Power of Attorney

‘Enduring’ means the appointed person’s power continues if you lose the capacity to make your own decisions.

How do you appoint someone to have Power of Attorney?

To appoint someone to have Power of Attorney you need to complete a legal document.

On this form you decide how much power you will give the person you appoint (your Attorney) in order to manage your property and financial affairs.  The Attorney must keep records of all transactions of your money and property.  They must keep your property and their property separate.  And, they must not give gifts beyond what you would normally have given.

The same form is used for General Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney.  In both cases your appointed person can start managing your financial affairs immediately if you wish.   If you do not want their power to continue if you lose your capacity, you must cross out the relevant section on this form.   If you do not cross out this section then the power is considered “enduring” and will continue when you can’t make decisions for yourself.

While you are mentally capable of making your own decisions you are still free to deal with your own matters, unless you need help.  The person you have appointed to hold your Power of Attorney cannot stop your involvement and even then, as your Agent, they should only do what you instruct them to do.

If you lose capacity your appointed Attorney should still try to make the decisions they think you would want.  If another family member or friend is concerned the person you appointed is not acting in your best interest, they should contact the Trustee and Guardian office in your State/Territory.

At Feros Care we recommend all care-recipients appoint someone to have Enduring Power of Attorney prior to commencing services.

For more information click on the link below that relates to your State or Territory or contact a solicitor.