A Power of Attorney is a document authorising a person to act on behalf of another person and may be used, for example, to have somebody manage your business affairs while you are overseas or medically incapacitated.
TYPES OF POWER OF ATTORNEY
ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY
An Enduring Power of Attorney gives power to the person nominated to control all your business affairs. The advantage of an Enduring Power of Attorney is that it continues to remain valid, even if you become mentally or physically incapable of managing your own affairs (eg if you became bankrupt or very ill). This is therefore the form of Power of Attorney favoured in most circumstances. This document remains valid until your death or your earlier revocation of the Power (by the signing of a document called a “Revocation of Power of Attorney”).
An Enduring Power of Attorney is often considered useful as between husband and wife so that, in the event of one party becoming incapacitated, the other can continue to operate their bank accounts and other business affairs. It is often sensible for an elderly person, who is alone after the death of his or her spouse, to consider granting an Enduring Power of Attorney to an adult son or daughter.
GENERAL POWER OF ATTORNEY
A General Power of Attorney is similar to an Enduring Power of Attorney but the disadvantage is that it ceases to be valid immediately upon you becoming mentally incapable of managing your own affairs. This document remains valid until your death, the loss of your ability to manage your own affairs or your Revocation of the Power.
SPECIFIC OR LIMITED POWER OF ATTORNEY
Specific or Limited Power of Attorney allows the nominated person to act on your behalf in the circumstances specifically described in the document, eg. to sell your house for a specific figure, to operate your bank account for a certain period of time. This document remains valid until the specific task detailed in the document has been completed or your earlier Revocation of the Power.
ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY (MEDICAL TREATMENT)
An Enduring Power of Attorney (Medical Treatment) gives the nominated person the authority to make decisions about medical treatment upon your behalf if you become incompetent through ageing, physical or mental illness or injury. This Authority only becomes effective in those circumstances, ie so long as you remain competent to make your own medical decisions then the nominated person has no power to over-rule your decisions. This document remains valid until your death or earlier Revocation of the Power.