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Powers of Attorney

What is a power of Attorney?

Have you considered appointing a family member or a trusted person to deal with your financial and legal affairs including your money, property and investments, if you become unable to manage them yourself? At Websters Lawyers, we can advise you the preparation of your Power of Attorney ensuring that you understand the legal effects of such documents.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint a person as your attorney to deal with your legal and financial affairs in either specific or limited situations or in the event of illness or subsequent mental incapacity. People often believe that such a document is not necessary until they are older but it is important to consider who you want to make these types of decisions and that the arrangements are in place should you need them unexpectedly in the future.

A Power of Attorney ceases when you die and then the matters regarding your estate will be dealt with by the executor you have appointed in your legal will.

The powers granted under a Power of Attorney are strictly limited to legal and financial and affairs and cannot extend to medical issues which require an advance care directive.

Types of Power of Attorney

A General Power of Attorney can be prepared to provide your attorney with limited powers in relation your financial affairs even though you still have the mental capacity. For example, if you are travelling overseas your attorney can operate your bank accounts and pay your bills. It is possible to provide specific power under a Power of Attorney limited to a sale of a property and granting your attorney power to execute all necessary documents on your behalf to complete the sale. A donor does not lose their power by executing a Power of Attorney. A General Power of Attorney automatically ceases once you become medically incapacitated.

On the other hand, an Enduring Power of Attorney can also grant general or limited powers to your attorney, however  they can continue to operate even when you become medically incapacitated, allowing your attorney to continue to deal with your legal and financial affairs.

It is important that you appoint someone that you trust as they must act diligently and in your best interests. If you are concerned about appointing just one person you may want to consider appointing another trusted person to act jointly as your attorney.

Executing a Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney must be signed by you first whilst you have the legal capacity to understand the document, before an authorised person such as a solicitor. The attorney you have selected must also agree to be your attorney and sign the acceptance.

You can appoint an attorney for a fixed period of time and it can be revoked by you in writing at any time providing you still have capacity.

Registering the Power of Attorney

If a Power of Attorney is required for a real estate transaction, it will be necessary for the document to be registered at the South Australian Integrated Land Information System (SAILIS) with a registration fee payable at the time of lodgement. The document will then be stamped and allocated a Registration Number, which can then be quoted in future real estate dealings. If the land is located in another State then the Power of Attorney will need to be registered in that State. We prepare the Powers of Attorney in registrable form which can be registered at a later date should it be required.

To arrange an appointment to prepare your Power of Attorney contact Websters Lawyers.

What happens if there is a dispute concerning a power of attorney?

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