A Power of Attorney is a legal document whereby one person grants another person the authority to make legal and financial decisions on their behalf. A Power of Attorney can be used in several ways – from having another take care of your affairs whilst travelling to times of extended illness.
An Enduring Power of Attorney takes this a step further, whereby the person nominated to manage the affairs (also called the ‘Donee’) may continue to manage the affairs once the person giving the power (also called the ‘Donor’) is found to have diminished mental capacity due to injury or illness. This arrangement can remain in place as long as the donor is still alive.
Powers of Attorney can be prepared in two ways – to come into effect immediately and to continue once the donor suffers a loss of capacity; or to come into effect at a future time (such as the onset of mental incapacity).
In order to sign a Power of Attorney, the donor must be capable of understanding the nature of the document they are signing and its effect. It is therefore important in situations where a Power of Attorney must be appointed that it is done so in a timely manner.
An Appointment of Enduring Guardians is a legal document whereby you grant the right to make decisions in regard to your health and living arrangements to another person. This comes into effect only when you are deemed to have lost the ability to make decisions for yourself and gives your family the right to speak to health professionals about your medical situation and also to make the decisions necessary to carry out your wishes in regard to medical treatment options.