The low-down on Powers of Attorney


You may already have signed a Will with your Gold Coast or Probate solicitor and many clients have heard about Enduring Power of Attorneys, but there is often confusion about what they actually do and when they come into effect.

A general Power of Attorney (GPA) is only valid when the Principal, or the person giving the Power of Attorney, is of sound mind and enables the Attorney to sign on behalf of the Principal if he or she is not available for financial matters. A GPA cannot be given for health matters. In the event that the Principal is no longer of sound mind, a GPA is no longer valid. However, a company can give a GPA to a non-director, such as one’s wife or husband, and that will continue to have effect for as long as the company is not wound up. This device may be an effective tool for the person who is NOT the sole director, but holds all the assets.

With an Enduring Power of Attorney, the Attorney’s power continues when the Principal is deemed to have lost capacity and unable to make decisions for him or her.

This means that your Attorney can deal with your financial matters such as selling your home to allow your move into a nursing home, attending to ongoing financial matters on your behalf and consult with doctors with regard to your health care provided that you have given your attorney power for both financial and health related matters.

An Enduring Power of Attorney can be granted to the Attorney:

• For financial matters,
• Personal/health matters; or
• Financial and personal/health matters.

You can give specific information about your wishes or set any terms for the Attorney. The terms you direct your solicitor to include may be:

• Prohibiting your attorney from investing in certain company shares;
• Requiring your Attorney to try a specified Nursing Home first, if you need nursing care;
• Granting power to your Attorney to make and revoke binding nominations for your superannuation, in certain cases. We recommend obtaining further specific legal advice about this matter;
• Directing your Attorney to consult a particular professional, such as Philip Roberts, for all legal and business transactions.

You are able to outline when you want the power to begin. It may be immediately, on a certain date, or occurrence of an event, such as when you lose capacity. If you are appointing more than one Attorney you can also set out how he or she make their decisions.

For more specific instructions in respect of health matters, you may wish to sign an Advanced Health Directive, which we will talk about in next month’s blog.

If you have not already signed an Enduring Power of Attorney, we strongly recommend you contact RobertsLaw solicitors gold coast to discuss this important issue.