A General Power of Attorney is a power (or authority) granted by the ‘principal’ to another person called ‘attorney’ allowing them to deal in respect of the principal’s property and/or finances and can be used in a variety of circumstances. It can be granted to more than one person but such person(s) must be over the age of 18 years.
If for example you are going away overseas or out of the jurisdiction for some time and want someone to look after certain of your personal or business affairs, then you can appoint a person (attorney) to stand in your place in order to deal with those affairs either for a short term, or long term.
Obviously, your choice for such person needs to be someone you can trust.
More usually however, a power of attorney is used as a person gets older and envisages difficulty in managing their affairs, through restriction of movement, illness, hospitalization, etc.
Are there limitations to the power of attorney position?
It can be a limited power, restricted perhaps to only one’s financial affairs, or more broadly, to include one’s legal and personal affairs. However, such power cannot be used in respect of medical or lifestyle decisions of the principal, for which an enduring guardian can be appointed under the Guardianship Act.
The execution of a General Power of Attorney, unlike an Enduring Power of Attorney, doesn’t have to be witnessed and certified by an Australian Legal Practitioner.
A General Power of Attorney will only remain in effect whilst the principal has mental capacity, after which the principal can’t then make another power.
It is therefore important to consider, when making a power of attorney, to determine whether you should create a General Power or Enduring Power.
Contact the experienced lawyers at Proctor & Associates on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us on (02) 9687 3777. A member of our legal team will gladly assist you with any questions you may have about a general power of attorney.