Appointing a power of attorney should accompany all other steps in your estate planning. Considering who will manage your personal affairs if you become incapacitated is equally as important as preparing a Will. Losing the ability to make important decisions for yourself can happen at any time during your lifetime. 

If you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself due to sickness or injury, it is difficult for your loved ones to make decisions on your welfare unless they have the power to act on your behalf. Having this important legal document will entrust another person to make personal, health or financial decisions for you.  

This article outlines the reasons why this should included as part of your estate planning and the steps involved. 


What is a Power of Attorney and why do you need one as part of estate planning? 

A power of attorney is a legal document that appoints someone you trust (the attorney) to make personal, health or financial decisions on your behalf if you (the principal) no longer have the capacity to do so during your lifetime. The attorney can only make decisions that align with what you have specified. 

There are 2 types which are dependant on your situation, including general power of attorney and enduring power of attorneyBoth will give you peace of mind knowing that someone you trust will be making important decisions for you. 


What is involved in appointing a Power of Attorney? 

Any adult above the age of 18 can appoint a power of attorney if they have the capacity to understand the decisions that the attorney is authorised to make. 

Your personal matters can be complex, so it is important to appoint an attorney capable and willing to handle complicated affairs. You should choose someone you trust and who will manage your finances in a responsible manner such as a family member or close friend.  

Seeking legal advice from an experienced professional can advise you of the proper process to follow to ensure your document is legally valid and witnessed correctly. 


What should you do with the completed document?

A power of attorney is an extremely important legal document. It’s wise to keep your original document in a safe place and let those close to you know where they can find it. You should also give a certified copy to your lawyer, doctor, health care provider or bank. 

In Queensland, it isn’t required to register your completed document unless your attorney will be making decisions related to land. You can register your document with the Queensland Government Titles Registry.


Can you cancel your Power of Attorney?

You as the principal can cancel your power of attorney at any time. This can only be done while you still have the capacity to appoint a new attorney. In Queensland, an enduring power of attorney will be revoked by a new document to the extent of any inconsistency with the previous power of attorney. 


Things to remember

A power of attorney is one of the most important documents you will need to make. Appointing someone you trust to make important decisions on your behalf will give you peace of mind that your affairs are in trusted hands if you become incapacitated. 

Creating this important document is a complicated process. It is essential to take the correct steps in ensuring it considers your complex situation. A legal professional can guide you in assigning the right person to manage your affairs. They will also make sure your document is legally valid and is to your specifications. It is advised to update your power of attorney as part of your estate plan when your situation changes. This can be done when you update your Will.

At Cameron Rogers, our experienced estate planning team offer tailored advice and guidance when you need it most. Reach out to us for an obligation free consultation now on 07 5445 1213 or book a consultation.