Should You Get A Power Of Attorney?

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Picture this: 

Tom is a roofer he ends up in a coma after falling off a roof. He has not done a will, and has not assigned a power of attorney. Do you think his wife is able to act on his behalf?  No. Tom’s wife will need to apply to the Court for authority to access bank accounts and manage his business until Tom recovers.  

But if Tom had signed a Power of Attorney his wife could easily step into his shoes to keep the business tracking along – including payments to cover the home loan.

Rather than leaving your family to have to apply for the privilege to act on your behalf, you can decide who is the right person to have that power now, while you have mental capacity. 

What is a Power of Attorney? 

A Power of Attorney is a document appointing a person of your choice to manage your financial and medical affairs.  A Power of Attorney only operates while you are alive and when you die, your Will comes into play. 

Who should I appoint as my Attorney? 

Your Attorney must understand your personal circumstances and act in your best interests.  People often appoint their spouse and in their absence, their children or siblings.   

Bear in mind, your Attorney must be over 18 years old to accept the appointment. 

But can my Attorney sell off my assets and run away? 

Your Attorney is governed by very strict legislation regarding their duties and acting in your best interests – but if you would like to ensure that their scope is limited then we can easily do.  

Can I limit / restrict my Attorney’s appointment? 

Yes.  We can structure the appointment however you like, for example: 

  • Your Attorney can only use their power if you have lost mental capacity (such as developing dementia, or being in a coma) 
  • Your Attorney could be appointed jointly with another person, so that they have to sign off on documents / decisions together 
  • You can limit your Attorney’s power to only relating to certain subjects – eg. sale of a property, only medical issues, only financial issues etc. 
  • You can limit your Attorney’s power to only being effective for a certain time – eg. while you’re away on holidays this Christmas 

 

Do you have a Power Of Attorney? If you want to talk about your options then just get in touch with our Wills & Estate Planning team. For an obligation free chat, at no cost, you can email us or call 0738282095.

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