What is a Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document where you appoint someone as your Attorney to make decisions regarding your lifestyle and financial matters on your behalf whilst you are alive. Power of Attorney ceases to operate upon your death.
An Attorney is appointed by you to look after your affairs if you no longer can whether by accident or ill health or maybe even travelling.
You can have more than one Attorney and this position can be held “Jointly” – meaning both Attorneys need to sign or “Jointly and Severally” - meaning that either can act as your Attorney.
The Power of Attorney needs to be completed whilst you are well enough to make the informed decision of who to have as your Attorney.
Why do I need a Power of Attorney?
Should you not have a Power of Attorney document and you become incapacitated, it will be up to someone to apply to VCAT for an Administration and /or Guardianship Order to look after your affairs.
This can be a family member or a Trustee organisation.
VCAT may not necessarily appoint the person that you may have chosen.
What can an Attorney do?
An Attorney can do anything that you can normally do - so it is important that the correct Attorney is selected by you and put in place whilst you are well.
When can an Attorney operate?
An Attorney can operate as soon as the document is completed or a stipulation can be placed into the document that specifies when the Power of Attorney can be used, i.e. when GP states that you no longer are able to make decisions on your own behalf or if you travel a lot, you may wish to make it subject to you advising your Attorney that it operates between certain dates whilst you are away.
What is a Medical Power of Attorney?
Once again these are done whilst we are well and appoint someone to make medical decisions on our behalf should we be unable to consent to medical and/or dental treatment.
Only one medical attorney operates at one time but several people can be appointed on the document to cover all contingencies.