POWERS OF ATTORNEY
There are several different types of Power of Attorney, but the one we deal mostly in Estate Planning situations is the Enduring Power of Attorney. The 'Enduring' part means that the Power endures even if the maker of the Power (the Principal) has lost capacity to make decisions. Indeed, this is one of the central reasons for making an Enduring Power of Attorney; to ensure that people you trust are authorized to make your financial and legal decisions if you lose capacity to do this yourself. You cannot control loss of capacity, but by making an Enduring Power of Attorney, you can rest easy knowing that someone you trust will take over if the need arises. Do not leave it too late. Your children cannot give me instructions. I will only take instructions from you, and only if you still have capacity to give them.
If you make an appointment with me to make a Will, I will always explain what an Enduring Power of Attorney does, and give you advice about how to structure it if you decide you want one.
If you make a standard-form Enduring Power of Attorney, it is important to understand that your attorney can make nearly every financial or legal decision you can make, plus some personal ones. So, your attorney can sign a contract of sale of your home, appoint a selling agent, sign a mortgage or a loan agreement, or go to the bank and draw out your money.
Whilst most families are lucky enough to have a person or persons they trust implicitly to appoint to this role, the persons appointed needs to understand that taking on the role of Attorney is a very serious decision. They will have a duty to always act in the best interests of the Principal, and they should never mix their money with the money of the Principal. The best piece of advice I can give to attorneys is to keep absolutely accurate records of any expenditure or decisions made on behalf of the principal, so that this can be explained to the other family members should they query the decisions made at a later date. This is certainly a common theme in my experience, and unfortunately I have had Attorney clients taken to VCAT to explain 'where the money has gone'.
My charges for Enduring Powers of Attorney are on my FEES page on this website.
Please feel free to call Jenny Stephenson for a no obligation discussion about the Powers of Attorney you might find useful in your circumstances. My telephone number is 03 8711 3538 and mobile 0419 155 122.