POWER OF ATTORNEY
A Power of Attorney is a strategic and important life planning tool and must be made whilst a person still has the mental capacity to do so otherwise significant financial and stressful consequences can occur for you and your loved ones.
Often people make a Will, which only comes into effect after they die, however very few people give the same importance to appointing an attorney to look after their financial affairs until it is too late. Appointing an attorney gives your attorney the legal authority to look after your financial affairs on your behalf. An attorney has a legal obligation to act in your best interests.
You can appoint and authorise an attorney to act for you in a number of situations for example:
- During an overseas trip,
- for a specific purpose such as the purchase or sale of a property or
- Indefinitely for when the time comes when you are no longer able to manage your own financial affairs because you no longer have the mental capacity to do so. (Enduring Power of Attorney)
Having a power of attorney in place will give you and your loved ones peace of mind knowing that someone of your choosing will have authority to be able to manage your financial matters when you are no longer capable of doing so.
In the event that you do not have a Power of Attorney in place and have lost the mental capacity to make your own financial decisions, then it may be necessary for an application to be made to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. This can be a lengthy process particularly in a situation where there is disagreement and conflict among family members. It is possible the Tribunal may then appoint NSW Trustee and Guardian as your financial manager and substitute decision maker.
An enduring guardian is a person who is appointed by you to make lifestyle and medical decisions due to illness or accident when you are no longer capable of doing this for yourself. Your Enduring Guardian may make decisions such as where you live, what services are provided to you at home and what medical or dental treatment you receive.
Enduring Guardianship is a good way to plan for the future, particularly for unforeseen situations. Your nominated guardian will be able to make the difficult decisions on your behalf in relation to whether to continue life support, artificial ventilation or accept blood transfusions in situations where recovery is unlikely. An Enduring Guardianship document is an effective way for you to express your wishes so that there is no argument between family members.