What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document by which the principal appoints a person or a trustee organisation (the attorney) to manage their legal and financial affairs while they are alive. Appointing someone to this role does not mean you lose control over your affairs. It simply gives your attorney formal authority to manage your affairs according to your instructions. You may revoke your power of attorney at any time, provided you have the capacity to do so.
A power of attorney may be executed for many different reasons – for example because the principal is travelling overseas and wants to give someone access to bank accounts to pay bills or manage finances. A person in poor health may appoint a POA where they find difficulty in managing their own affairs.
If the person to whom you have given power does not meet their obligations and you incur financial losses as a result, you may take legal action. If you have concerns about actions taken by a person appointed under a power of attorney, our lawyers can assist.
Enduring Power of Attorney
A nominated person to take legal responsibility to continue effect after you lose your mental capacity, is known as an enduring power of attorney.
If you fail to appoint someone and circumstances prevent you from making a decision when required, VCAT can appoint someone to make the decision on your behalf. It can bring a lot more peace of mind nominating someone you trust and who understands what’s important to you and act on your wishes should the need ever arise.