A person can appoint another to manage his or her affairs by completing a document called a Power of Attorney. With the increasing trend in Government regulation of health institutions, Powers of Attorney are being requested. There are currently Powers of Attorney documents covering legal, financial, personal matters and medical treatment.  Advance Care Directives are also available to support your wishes.  Powers of Attorney can also be appropriate for Supportive Attorney Appointments and for company and business needs.

Important points to note about powers of attorney

As we grow older the risks of a person becoming incompetent to handle his or her affairs is realistic. As we travel and/or reside overseas the requirement to have a person assist with your affairs is a great advantage.

An Enduring Power of Attorney enables you to:

  • make your own choice of person to manage your financial, legal and personal affairs if or when that becomes necessary;
  • avoid the need for formal intervention in the form of an Administration Order by the Tribunal under the Guardianship and Administration Act.

An Attorney can do such things as:

  • pay your bills including accommodation, rents, rates, repairs to property, gas, phone, electricity and medical, hospital and nursing home charges;
  • look after your banking;
  • manage your real estate and investments as well as a range of other administrative tasks;
  • collect and account for income including dividends from shares and interest from bonds, debentures or any other source, rents, pensions and entitlements.
  • decide where you might live.
  • arrange support services you might need.
  • organise health care (including whether to consent to medical or dental treatment but does not have the power to refuse medical treatment).

The Enduring Power of Attorney (Medical Treatment) gives power

– to consent to important medical and dental decisions and, most significantly, power to refuse medical treatment to prevent unwanted and unnatural prolongation of life by artificial machines. The decisions of your medical agent in relation to consenting to medical or dental treatment take precedence over your attorney who is appointed to act in relation to personal matters.

Recent changes to the Law now provide for General non-enduring powers of attorney, Supportive attorneys and more options and further scope for decision making are encouraged with new Enduring Powers of Attorney documentation we will prepare for you. If you appoint joint attorneys, and one dies, your attorney can still act alone or if you require two people you can still appoint a replacement attorney. Your appointed attorney can also act for you at your direction if you have decision making capacity.

Now may be an appropriate time to review your current documents and consider planning for your care, and the need for flexibility and assistance if you are travelling overseas.

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