Power of Attorney and Guardianship
Have you ever considered how your finances and health affairs will be handled should you lose the capacity to take care of these issues yourself?
A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to take care of your financial affairs
Life is inherently uncertain and most of us are happy to be blissfully ignorant about the real possibility that at some point in our lives we may need someone else to look after our health care and or finances.
Really, I’m not trying to rain on your parade but it’s worthwhile stopping to think about these things just for a moment, particularly when you realise a little forward planning could possibly save your life or at lease save your loved ones additional stress at a time when they least need it.
Most of us insure for all sorts of catastrophe such as our house burning down or our lives being cut short and we are happy (well maybe happy is a little too strong) to pay the premiums in exchange for someone else taking the risk.
However it seldom enters our mind to make arrangements for a close relative or trusted friend to look after our affairs should we lose the capacity to do so ourselves - particularly when we are young and healthy.
We all have the right to nominate a trusted person to act as our representative in relation to financial and health matters. This is achieved by:-
- A Power of Attorney - for financial matters
- An Enduring Guardianship - for health and lifestyle matters
It is a very simple process, and one that can be done for minimal or no cost.
You can only appoint someone to act on your behalf if you have sound mind at the time you are making the appointment. In this sense, a proactive and considered approach is essential.
The bottom line is: enduring powers of attorney and guardianships must be in place before the need to use them arises. If you don’t make arrangements now, and later lose mental capacity due to some unforseen event – it will be too late. Because you need full mental capacity to fully understand and enter into a legally binding arrangement, you will lose the right to appoint your own representative if you don’t have the prerequisite mental capacity.
What's the difference between Power of Attorney and an Enduring Guardianship - Read more
Where to get a POA for each Australian State - click here
By Ian MacLeod