Power of Attorney & Advance Care Directives
When preparing a Will and estate plan, it is also important to consider how decisions will be made concerning your legal and financial affairs and your health treatment if you become incapacitated and cannot deal with these matters yourself. Powers of Attorney and Advance Care Directives can help take some of the stress out of these difficult situations.
Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document whereby one person (the donor) authorises another (the attorney) to act as the donor’s agent in financial and business affairs. The person giving the Power of Attorney must be over 18 years and have mental capacity. The attorney may be a family member, friend, or professional adviser. You should only appoint a person you trust to be your attorney.
You may appoint more than one attorney and specify whether they should act together or separately. You can also direct that the attorney act on your behalf only if you lose mental capacity. An Enduring Power of Attorney ends when the donor dies.
General Powers of Attorney differ from Enduring Powers of Attorney in that they become ineffective if the donor loses his or her mental capacity.
A General Power of Attorney may be more suitable for one-off transactions, for example, if you would like certain matters dealt with by somebody you trust while you are travelling overseas for an extended time. A General Power of Attorney, however, may not be appropriate to delegate the responsibility of dealing with the affairs of somebody who is elderly or unwell.
We can explain the different types of Powers of Attorney to you and help put in place the legal documents best suited to your needs.
Advance Care Directives
An Advance Care Directive enables you to express (in advance) specific wishes regarding your health care, living arrangements, end of life, and other personal matters, if you become incapacitated and cannot express these wishes yourself.
You can also appoint a trusted person to make certain decisions on your behalf.
You can prepare an Advance Care Directive at any stage of your life provided you are over 18 years old and understand the nature and effect of the document you are preparing (i.e., what it will be used for and when it will be used).
We can all take steps to simplify the management of our legal and financial affairs and predetermine the type of health care we are comfortable with as we age.