You might have heard of power of attorney. But what is a power of attorney and who can I nominate to look after my affairs?
What is a power of attorney?
An attorney is a person you name to manage your affairs. You are required to legally document the person who you nominate to act on your behalf. There are two types of power of attorney:
General power of attorney
You can appoint someone as a general power of attorney to make financial decisions on your behalf for a specific period or event. It is only used while you can still make your own decisions and will end when you no longer can. For example, you might nominate a general power of attorney if you are going overseas and need someone to pay your bills or sell your house on your behalf. A general power of attorney does not give the person the ability to make personal, medical or lifestyle decisions on your behalf.
Enduring power of attorney
By appointing someone with an enduring power of attorney, you are nominating them to make financial and/or personal decisions on your behalf. You can choose if you wish for the person to make financial decisions for you straight away or from a specific date or occasion, such as when you lose the capacity to make these decisions yourself. For personal decisions, your attorney power will only commence when you lose the ability to make these decisions.
Who can I nominate?
You can choose anyone to be your power of attorney. It is very important to choose someone that you trust and shares your beliefs and values. Your power of attorney can be a relative, spouse, friend or a professional (such as a lawyer), but whoever you choose must be over the age of 18.
Planning ahead can save you and your family from legal or financial burdens in the future. Nominating a power of attorney can give you the peace of mind that your personal and/or financial affairs will be kept in order and be in your best interest, no matter what happens in the future.