A Power of Attorney is a legal document whereby one person grants another person the authority to make legal and financial decisions on their behalf. A Power of Attorney can be used in several ways – from having another take care of your affairs whilst traveling to times of extended illness.
An Enduring Power of Attorney takes this a step further, whereby the person nominated to manage the affairs (called the ‘Donee’) may continue to manage the affairs once the person giving the power (called the ‘Donor’) is found to have diminished mental capacity due to injury or illness. This arrangement can remain in place as long as the donor is still alive.
An Appointment of Enduring Guardian is a legal document whereby you grant the right to make decisions in regard to your health and living arrangements to another person. This comes into effect only when you are deemed to have lost the ability to make decisions for yourself and gives your family the right to speak to health professionals about your medical situation and also to make the decisions necessary to carry out your wishes in regard to medical treatment options.
Who can make a Power of Attorney & Appointment of Enduring Guardianship?
Anyone over the age of 18 who has the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the document, who makes the decisions in the document of their own free will and who can communicate clearly what those decisions are.
When should I make a Power of Attorney & Appointment of Enduring Guardianship?
Before you need them! These documents safeguard your interests in the event of something unforeseen – an accident or illness that robs you of your capacity to make decisions for yourself. It is better to be prepared and confident in knowing that the person you choose will be making important decisions about your money, your living arrangements, and your health.
When does it start?
You can choose when you want it to start. If you don’t make it clear when you want it to start then it will commence when your attorney signs the document to accept their position.
Who should I appoint to be my Attorney or Guardian?
You need to appoint someone you trust to make the right decisions. You can appoint more than one person if you wish, and you can specify exactly how they make their decisions – jointly or separately. For a Power of Attorney, make sure that the person you appoint has the necessary skills to deal with your finances.
What are the legal responsibilities of my Attorney?
They are legally responsible to you and must act in your best interests. While you have the mental capacity they must obey your instructions. They cannot give gifts to themselves or to anyone else unless you specifically authorize this and they must keep their finances and money separate from yours, keeping accurate records of all of their dealings with your money.
Who should I talk to about it?
It’s really important that you discuss these documents with a lawyer who can give you professional advice about your particular circumstances. It’s also vital that you discuss your wishes with your family to avoid unnecessary conflict and stress.
Can I change my mind?
Yes, as long as you still have the decision-making capacity to do so you can revoke or change these documents. This has to be done in a legally binding way, however, so please contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation with an experienced lawyer.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation with an experienced lawyer.