In many cases, a person might not be able to regularly conduct some of their affairs and might need someone else’s aid to do so. In such cases, a person appoints another, formally, to perform some chores on their behalf. This transfer of power for completing the tasks is termed ‘Powers Of Attorney.’ Technically speaking, it is a legal document where one individual (the principal) provides legal authority to another (the agent) to act on their behalf for various affairs, usually by nominating them. This transfer is done to delegate responsibilities and management to someone deemed trustworthy. The name could be confusing, as the agent does not necessarily have to be a lawyer or an attorney to qualify.
The appointed Powers Of Attorney can be placed for multiple roles. In case a principal is outside of Australia, they can efficiently conduct their tasks within the border, using their power of attorney. These affairs might include but are not limited to selling and buying of real estate, voting, operating bank accounts, etc. the Powers Of Attorney of two people can hugely differ from each other. The provisions adhere to the specific needs of the principal. It is the principal that can decide to entrust their nominee with any responsibility of their choosing.
All of this might seem convenient, but it is extremely crucial to consult legal advisors before you put your name on the dotted line. The document is sensitive, critical, and is especially prone to pitfalls. Even though these pitfalls become apparent with experience, they can be easily sidestepped with your solicitor’s help. They can analyze your unique situation, identify traps, and come up with strategies to avoid them.
What are the Different Types of Powers of Attorney?
In Australia’s case, the powers that you can impart to your nominee can potentially differ quite vastly with the territory or state of your residence. It is advisable to consult with the local Public Trustee for these matters. The Powers Of Attorney are classified into two types:
1. General Power of Attorney
In a general or ordinary power of attorney, the principal can nominate their agent to take calls on legal or financial matters. It is time-specific. We mean by this that, for instance, the principal is abroad, they can ask their agents to take upon the legal affairs back at home. The general power of attorney forbids the privilege to bring medical, personal, or lifestyle-related decisions on behalf of the principal. What is interesting to note is that in case the principle loses their ability to make decisions (mental incompetence, for instance), the appointment of the agent immediately becomes invalid. Many states prohibit them from taking effect at the start of an event such as incapacitation or disability.
2. Enduring Power Of Attorney
Intuitively, the enduring power of attorney is the reverse of the general power of attorney. They are employed in situations wherein the principal lacks the mental ability to cater to their personal affairs or cannot provide legal consent due to a specific reason. An agent is then called upon and then authorized with the powers to make critical decisions. The principal has to be capable and sound to fulfil the authority.
How does it Work?
When you are drawing up your Powers Of Attorney, you must be able to comprehend the consequences and implications of undertaking this decision to ensure the validity of the appointment. Mental and physical health at this time is paramount. People sometimes do this as a preventative measure against tragedies or calamities, and it is a reasonable step in many situations. However, the laws and procedures are complex, and you must seek proper legal guidance before the drafting process and check its validity. The validity is essential for a Powers Of Attorney to take effect successfully.