Choosing someone to nominate at a glance:
- They will be able to make decisions on your behalf.
- Choosing someone you trust is the most important consideration.
- Anyone can be your Attorney under Power; they don’t need to be family or hold any formal qualification.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document which gives another person authority to act on your behalf. The person you nominate is referred to as your Attorney or agent.
Choosing your Attorney is a very important decision, and it’s not always easy. The person you choose will have a great deal of decision making power as well as difficult responsibilities.
Here is our guide to choosing someone for your Powers of Attorney.
Who should you nominate to be your Attorney under Power?
The most important thing is to choose someone you trust and who shares your beliefs. People often choose their partner, a child or a sibling to be their Attorney, but it can be anyone you like.
Your Attorney doesn’t need to be related to you, and they don’t need any specific experience or qualifications. They only need to be someone you trust implicitly and who will act in the manner you want them to.
Making someone your Attorney under Power is a big responsibility for them, so make sure you discuss it with the person you choose. Make sure they understand your wishes, preferences, and beliefs ahead of time and that they are comfortable making decisions on your behalf.
You also need to consider that ideally you should have at least two Attorneys. One as a primary and one as a backup.
Enduring Power of Attorney types
There are two types of enduring Power of Attorney:
- Financial – Gives the Attorney authority to make decisions about your finances, as well as lifestyle considerations. If you have more than one attorney, they can act jointly, separately or joint and severally.
- Medical – Gives the Attorney authority to make decisions about your medical care and treatment. If your have more than one attorney, they must in the order of their authority.
You must completely trust the person you choose as your financial Attorney. Anyone has the potential to misuse the document for their personal gain. While there may be criminal repercussion for people who do this, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Choosing someone you trust will minimise the chance of this happening.
For your medical Attorney, you need to make sure your Attorney either shares or is aware of any beliefs or preferences you have. For example, if your religion forbids receiving blood transfusions, then your Attorney must be aware of this and be willing to make medical decisions in accordance with this belief.
Until recently, there was a third type of enduring Power of Attorney: Guardianship. Guardianship Power of Attorney related to lifestyle decisions. As of 1 September 2015, the law changed and the guardianship element is now covered in financial Power of Attorney.
Get advice from expert Power of Attorney lawyers
Once you have chosen the person you want to nominate to be your Attorney under Power, the next important step is to make sure all the documents are completed correctly.
Having a Power of Attorney Lawyer prepare the documents for you will ensure that they are correct and can be relied upon. After carefully choosing the person you want to be your Attorney, you don’t want to be let down by documents which are incorrect or invalid.
At Rose Lawyers, we have been helping our customers organise their Will and Estate matters, including Powers of Attorney, since 1977. You can trust in our expertise and that we will handle your case with care.
For help organising your Power of Attorney matters, call Rose Lawyers on 03 9878 5222.
Julie is an admitted Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria. She has a range of experience in Civil Litigation, Commercial Law, Family Law, Taxation...
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