Protect yourself and your family with a power of attorney
If you have an accident or fall ill, you may need someone to make decisions on your behalf. A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to nominate someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you can’t.
Many people simply assume that their partner will be able to make decisions for them and will manage their assets. However, unless a formal power of attorney has been granted, these decisions could be made by a government agency instead.
So by planning for the worst and giving power of attorney to someone you trust means you can nominate the person you want to make decisions if you can’t.
Depending on Australia’s state and territory laws, as well as your circumstances, a power of attorney can operate in different ways. The three main types are:
1. A general power of attorney
This allows someone to make financial decisions on your behalf but only for a limited time. This is often used if someone is going travelling and will be unable to manage their financial affairs while they are away.
2. An enduring power of attorney
This permits someone to make financial decisions on your behalf. Unlike a general power of attorney, it comes into force on a specific direction from you or when you lack mental capacity and remains in place following your loss of capacity.
3. Medical powers of attorney, enduring powers of guardianship and advance care directives
Different states use different documents to deal with medical or lifestyle issues. They empower someone to make these decisions on your behalf if you are unable to.