Many people will go to lawyers to draft their Will, yet they forget or do not know about an equally important estate planning tool, a Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney document.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a document which is used to appoint a trusted individual who is reliable and financially astute to make important financial decisions and handle your financial affairs when you are unable to do so. A Power of Attorney provides your appointed attorney with the legal authority to look after your financial affairs.
How can a Power of Attorney be used?
A Power of Attorney can be used in a variety of circumstances. Some common examples include:
- If you were taking an extended trip interstate or overseas;
- If you need to sell your property but you are unable to sign the legal documents to transfer the property because of your absence;
- If, for a period of time, you are no longer be able to manage your own financial affairs;
Then you could appoint somebody to manage your financial affairs in your absence.
When creating a Power of Attorney, you can determine when it comes into effect and you are able to appoint an Attorney to act for you in various circumstances. It might be only after you lose decision-making capacity, which is known as an Enduring Power of Attorney. You might also only give the power in relation to one particular transaction which you want your attorney to handle. Sometimes, it could be upon a breach of a contract, where you need to exercise certain rights on behalf of a party.
Can I use a Power of Attorney to sell and transfer property?
Before you can sell, mortgage, lease or otherwise deal with your real estate or real property, you need to register the power of attorney. However, for any other transaction, you do not need to register it. Once registered, it will on record as a public document, generally safe from loss or destruction and more easily accepted as evidence that your attorney has authority to deal with your assets.
A power of attorney can be registered at the NSW land titles office, Land and Property Information Sydney. For more information, read the power of attorney factsheet from Land and Property Information (LPI).
What types of Powers of Attorney are there?
There are two types of Powers of Attorney which can Rockliff Snelgrove Lawyers can prepare on your behalf, depending on your circumstances. These are:
- General Power of Attorney; and
- Enduring Power of Attorney.
The difference between both is that an Enduring Power of Attorney still has effect and continues to operate after you lose mental capacity.
How can we help?
Our lawyers can prepare both enduring and normal Power of Attorney documents, and can advise you further on:
- When the appointment is to operate;
- Limiting or provide unrestricted powers to the attorney appointed; and
- Whether attorneys appointed (if more than one) must act jointly or whether they can independently exercise the powers.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation with an experienced Wills and Estates Planning Lawyer in Sydney CBD.