Should I appoint a power of attorney?

Date: Apr 01, 2008
Document Type: Article, Q&A

You should always have a plan to deal with those times when you are not able to manage your personal business affairs – be it temporary or in the event of infirmity or tragedy.  For this reason, it is wise to appoint a ‘power of attorney’ who will manage your property and financial matters when you are unable to manage them directly or are incapable of managing them at all.

There are three kinds of power of attorney.  In each case, you must appoint someone – or revoke their appointment - when you are mentally capable of making this decision and the appointment must be accepted by him or her.

A solicitor can help you decide the best approach for you and help you make the right choice for the job. You can even appoint a solicitor to the position when you don’t want to burden family or friends.

General power of attorney

This power is most useful when you are overseas, in hospital or otherwise unavailable to make property and financial decisions.  The power expires the moment you lose mental capacity so it is not susceptible to exploitation in the event  you are unable to revoke the appointment.

Enduring power of attorney

You should appoint someone as your attorney as enduring to cover thesituation in the event you are permanently rendered incapable of making property or financial decisions due to physical or mental infirmity, including old age.  You should go to the trouble of making this appointment as it is quite separate from your ‘enduring guardian’; each appointment has completely different sets of responsibilities.

Like making a will or appointing an enduring guardian, this decision is based on a unpleasant future possibility and its one many people never make. However, like those other examples, it is something you should do, both for yourself and for your loved ones.

Alternative power of attorney

It is wise to appoint an alternative power of attorney who will take over the responsibility in the event your primary appointment is rendered incapable of performing the function.

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