How a power of attorney impacts your will - and your options

Date: Nov 13, 2015

When it comes to wills and estates, there are certainly a number of important areas to understand - especially when it comes to your property and finances.

It is always advisable to draft a power of attorney, the legal document that allows you to appoint your attorney as the person to make decisions on your behalf, and if you want, you can also allow your attorney to make decisions for you when you can no longer make decisions yourself.

This attorney, either a lawyer, family member or close friend - but it must be someone you trust - can be your decision maker when it comes to financial matters and issues related to your property. However, it's necessary to have a grasp how a power of attorney will impact your options and your estate planning.

Giving someone your power of attorney does not mean you cannot continue to make your own decisions.  You will still be able to deal with property and monetary matters. Your attorney will be bound by the terms of the power of attorney document, and you can confine the power to specific matters or decisions, e.g. a decision concerning shares, or if you move out of your home and into a more specialised care facility and want your appointed attorney to sell your home for you.

A power of attorney is useful in estate planning, because if you lose capacity to make decisions, your family and friends could find it difficult to make decisions for you and an application for appointment of a guardian might have to be made.

As the NSW Government Land & Property Information notes, however, you should only appoint someone you trust to manage these affairs for you.

How does a power of attorney impact my will?

A power of attorney only operates when you are alive.

Note that you will also be able to dictate what powers your attorney will have. You may not want them to be able to make donations, in which case this is something you will need to specify.

In the event you would like to cancel your power of attorney while you are still capable of doing so, you will only need to draft a simple letter.

Creating a power of attorney can be a very important part of estate planning. To learn more about the process, and other matters with regards to property and wills, reach out to professional lawyers in NSW today.