What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a document which allows you to appoint another person as your legal representative. Your attorney will step into your shoes and make legal and financial decisions on your behalf if needed. They are authorised to do things like withdraw money from your bank account, sign cheques, sign contracts, sell property and enter into agreements on your behalf.
An enduring power of attorney means that your chosen legal representative will continue to look after you and your needs if you lose capacity. This can happen in a variety of situations, so it’s always best to be prepared.
What if something happens to me and I haven’t appointed an attorney?
Like many of us, Dorothy is a healthy adult who owns a house, has a job and a bank account. However, three years ago Dorothy was diagnosed with dementia.
She now lives in a Nursing Home with 24hr care and needs to sell her house. Problem is, Dorothy’s disease has caused her to forget many things.
Unfortunately, Dorothy never got around to appointing her daughter, Jill, to be her attorney. This means that Jill does not have the authority to make legal and financial decisions for Dorothy. Before she can organise the sale of Dorothy’s house to help fund her housing and health care, Jill must apply to the Guardianship Tribunal to have herself appointed as Dorothy’s financial manager.
The process of applying to the Guardianship Tribunal can be a long, drawn out process. In this time, Jill will be unable to help her mother sell her house or use her own bank account funds to pay for her care.
Did you know? There are more than 413,106 Australians living with dementia*
Don’t let your family be caught out should something happen to you. We often can’t foresee the events which will take place in our lives.
You may live a long and happy life and never need to rely on the services of an attorney. However, there is always the possibility that you may lose capacity at some stage during your life.
If you don’t organise a Power of Attorney document and you become incapacitated, your family or a close friend will have to go through the stress of applying to the Guardianship Tribunal.
If your family does go through a Guardianship Tribunal hearing and they are appointed as your financial manager, they will still have the Guardianship Board supervising their every move. Beyond simply the stress of having someone hover over every move they make, there are also costly, ongoing annual fees for supervising your estate.
Avoid the stress, expense and anxiety of this process and appoint one or more people as your attorney to act on your behalf.
How do I arrange an attorney for myself?
*The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling NATSEM (2016) Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056