What is a Power of Attorney?

Have you ever considered what would happened if you lost capacity to make your own decisions? Wouldn’t you want to have control over who can make decisions for you if you did? Who would you trust to make those big life decisions for you?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows an individual to grant another one or more individuals the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are incapable of doing so.

There are generally two categories in Queensland: a general power of attorney and an enduring power of attorney.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney can be used to appoint an individual to make legal financial decisions on your behalf for a period of time. For example, you can appoint someone else to:

  1. pay your bills while you’re overseas on holidays;
  2. sell your house while you’re in hospital; 
  3. make bank withdrawals.

It is only valid when you can still make your own decisions; it ends when you lose capacity to make such decisions. 

Enduring Power of Attorney

An enduring power of attorney can be used to appoint an individual to make legal, financial and personal decisions. It can start immediately (if you wish it) for legal and financial decisions. However, the power in relation to personal decisions only starts once you have lost the capacity to make your own decisions. Examples of personal decisions include consent to giving, withholding or stopping medical treatments or services.

Don’t delay

Having a power of attorney prepared by a lawyer will ensure that the legal documents are correct and can be relied upon. After carefully choosing the person you want to be your attorney, you don’t want to be let down by documents which are incorrect or invalid.

At Cohen Legal, we help our clients organise their wills and estate matters with care. Contact us today for your appointment.

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