If you own assets you should have a Power of Attorney.
A Power of Attorney authorizes a person or organisation to deal with your legal and financial affairs. That person or organization is called your “Attorney”. As distinct from a Will, the Power of Attorney is only effective whilst you are still alive.
There are two types of Power of Attorney’s; a General Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney.
A General Power of Attorney will contain specific powers. For example, it may be for a specific period of time (perhaps a period of time while you are living overseas) or it may deal with a specific transaction, such as the power to arrange the sale of your house.
An Enduring Power of Attorney will give your attorney broad powers to deal with your legal and financial affairs. It will continue to operate in the event you become mentally incapacitated and are no longer able to manage your affairs. We recommend that all of our Clients have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place.
The choice of Attorney is vitally important. You should choose a person or organisation that you trust to manage your affairs honestly and diligently. This appointment should be a person or organization you feel would deal with your affairs in the same way you would. If you subsequently lose faith in the person or organisation you have appointed, you can revoke the Power of Attorney but you must still have mental capacity to do so.
The Attorney is required to act in the best interests of the person giving the Power of Attorney (the “donor”) and keep accurate records of all transactions.
If you don’t have a Power of Attorney in place and become incapable of managing your affairs your loved ones have two options available to them;
- They can request the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“SACAT”) to appoint an administrator of your affairs (which may be a relative or the Public Trustee); or
- They can request the Supreme Court to appoint a manager of your affairs (which again may be a relative or the Public Trustee).
Either option will be costly and time-consuming and may result in a person or organisation managing your affairs that does not know you and does not have the same concern for you as a person or organisation that you would have appointed yourself.
We can advise you and assist you with the preparation of a Power of Attorney.