Family LawWills and EstatesWhat is a Power of Attorney?

October 30, 2018

A Power of Attorney is a legal document which gives authority to another person (known as the attorney) to make certain financial decisions and sign certain documents on behalf of the donor.

Powers of attorney can grant extremely wide and discretionary powers to the attorney.

There are certain drafting and execution requirements for an Enduring Power of Attorney to be valid.

There is different formal requirements stipulated by law in addition it requires a ‘prescribed witness’ which may be a barrister, registrar or solicitor, to witness the execution of the document. In addition there is a certificate that needs to be prepared and executed that verifies that the principal understood the effect of the Enduring Power of Attorney.

One feature of an Enduring Power of Attorney is that the attorney can assume office in a variety of ways. This can be once they accept their appointment, once medical opinion deems capacity has been lost or once the attorneys form the view that the Principal is unable to continue to manage their affairs.

Decisions of the attorney when acting on behalf of the appointer are taken to be decisions of the appointer (although there are circumstances where this is not the case, for example where the attorney acts outside their powers).


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