A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you appoint a person (or trustee organisation) of your choice to manage your assets and financial affairs. This power operates while you are alive.
You may, for instance, be travelling overseas and want to give your attorney access to your bank accounts to pay your bills or manage your finances. Alternatively, it can be useful to have a Power of Attorney if you become unwell and are no longer able to manage your financial affairs. You can also make an Enduring Power of Attorney which will continue to have effect after you have lost your capacity to self-manage.
You can have more than one nominated person as your attorney, and you get to choose when the power begins, either: on a date; or when you need assistance to manage your affairs; or when you lose your capacity/mental ability.
A Power of Attorney only deals with property and financial matters, and enables your attorney to sign legally binding documents (but not a Will) on your behalf. It does not give someone the right to make decisions about your lifestyle, medical treatment or welfare: these decisions are covered by Enduring Guardianship.
Making a Power of Attorney doesn't mean that you will lose control over your financial affairs. It simply gives your attorney formal authority to manage your financial affairs according to your instructions. Your Power of Attorney can be revoked at any time provided you have the capacity to do so.
A Power of Attorney ceases when you die. The executor named in your Will then takes over the responsibility of administering your estate.
If you would like to know more about how to put a Power of Attorney in place please get in touch.
Wills & Estates | Kenny Spring Solicitors