Power of Attorney
What is an attorney?
An ‘attorney’ is a person or persons willing to help you with the welfare and/or financial matters if you were unable to act for yourself.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney (PoA) is a written document giving family member(s) or trusted friend(s) authority to take actions or make decisions on your behalf.
The PoA contains the name of the person(s) whom you want to help you, i.e. the attorney and a list of the individual powers that you want your attorney to have. The powers must be written down individually to make it clear as to what decisions your attorney can make on your behalf. The PoA will also include when your attorney is to begin acting for you.
What does it do?
It lets you say who you want to look after your affairs and what you want your attorney to be able to do for you if you become incapable of looking after your own affairs. The PoA provides legal authority for the attorney to make decisions for you.
What does incapable mean?
Someone’s capacity could be impaired gradually or suddenly as a result of an accident or illness. A registered and licensed medical doctor will be able to say whether or not that person is incapable.
Why would I need a Power of Attorney (PoA)?
It lets you plan what kind of things you want someone to do for you in the future.
What would happen if I did not have a PoA?
Your family or friends may have to go to court to get the authority to act on your behalf.
Would my partner or family be able to help without a PoA?
No, on-one has the automatic right to take actions on your behalf without legal authority.
What kind of things can I put in a PoA?
You can include things to do with money or property only (called a Continuing PoA) or just decisions about your health or personal welfare (called a Welfare PoA) or both.
Who can I appoint as my attorney?
You can appoint whoever you want, a family member or friend, a solicitor or accountant or a combination. You can appoint someone to deal with your financial matters and someone different to deal with your personal welfare. However, someone who is currently declared as bankrupt cannot be appointed as a continuing attorney.
What are the most common reasons to use a Power of Attorney?
Powers of Attorney are most commonly used if you are incapacitated: for example if you are taken into hospital and require help from family or friends to discuss your health situation with medical staff.
The other most common reason for a Power of Attorney is to enable your attorneys to deal with your banking matters.