What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document signed by the “principal” (yourself) appointing “Attorneys” (persons appointed on your behalf) to manage your financial and property affairs. A Power of Attorney can operate immediately or you can require it to only operate from a certain time, for example if you become incapacitated physically or mentally.
Why should I make a Power of Attorney?
Some of the reasons why you should consider making a Power of Attorney
- Being assured that you have a person or persons whom you trust to
legally manage your financial and property affairs should there be a need for that to happen.
- If you wish to travel overseas then your Attorney is able to pay bills
and manage your bank accounts in your absence.
- An Attorney is also authorised to sign Contracts for Sale on your behalf should you be unable to sign or if you are out of the country.
Who should I appoint as my Attorneys?
You should appoint a person or persons whom you trust will have your
best interests in mind when it comes to your financial and property affairs and
act accordingly. Often people will choose trusted family members being their
spouses and/or children or close friends.
Can I appoint more than one Attorney?
You can appoint multiple Attorneys. They can be appointed to act:
- Jointly. This means that all Attorneys must agree on decisions to be
- Severally. This means that any one of the Attorneys can make a decisions
independently without the consent of the other Attorneys.
- Jointly and Severally. This means that the Attorneys can make decisions
together or separately.
Who has to sign the Power of Attorney?
Once the document has been prepared in full, the principal must sign the
Power of Attorney at which point it becomes into existence. An Attorney must
accept their appointment by signing before they can actually act pursuant to
their appointment. The principal’s signature is witnessed by a Solicitor. The
Attorneys signatures do not need to be witnessed.
Can I appoint substitute Attorneys?
- You can appoint your Attorney and make provision either in that document or a separate one appointing substitute Attorneys who will be able to act in the event that the Attorney first appointed is unable to for any reason.
- You can stipulate the reasons when the substitute Attorneys can act. For example if the first named Attorney is unable to act due to physical or mental incapacity.
There may be other reasons that you would want your substitute Attorneys to act
and you can stipulate those reasons.