Do you understand what it means to appoint a power of attorney (POA)? In Queensland, there are two types of POA. Firstly, a general POA and secondly, an enduring POA. So, when appointing someone to act on your behalf, what do you need to know? We have put together some key points for you to consider.
What is a power of attorney (POA)?
A POA is a legal document where you appoint another person to act on your behalf to make personal and/or financial decisions. Personal decisions relate to your welfare and care, and this includes health care, and financial decisions include things like paying bills, renting or selling your home and using your income to pay for your needs.
General POA vs Enduring POA, what’s the difference?
If you require someone to act on your behalf for financial matters for a specific period of time, then you can use a general POA to appoint them. They will be able to act on your behalf for the specific time frame or event only. A common example of using a general POA is if you are travelling overseas and need someone to pay your bills.
An enduring POA is where you require someone to make personal and/or financial decisions on your behalf. With financial decisions, you can nominate when this takes effect – it could be immediately, at another nominated date or when you lose the capacity to make these decisions for yourself. With personal decisions, this only takes effect when you are no longer able to make these decisions yourself.
Considering limits and restrictions
When it comes to what your appointed attorney can and can’t do, and when they can act on your behalf, this is dependent on any limits and restrictions you put in place. Make sure you consider the big picture and specify any limits of power and when the power takes effect. Speaking with a lawyer before you complete the required paperwork can help you to make informed choices.
Choosing your attorney
Appointing someone to act on your behalf is a big decision and not one you should take lightly. It should be someone you trust and who is capable and happy to take on the responsibility.
You are not limited to choose only one person when it comes to appointing someone to act on your behalf to make financial and/or personal decisions. You can choose someone to act on your behalf for financial matters and another person for personal matters. So, consider who might be the most appropriate choice. For example, when appointing an attorney to make personal decisions on your behalf, consider someone who understands your health needs and your personal wishes. For financial matters, consider someone who is responsible and understands financial matters.
In Queensland, the person you appoint must be:
18 years old or above.
Not be your paid carer (receiving a carer’s pension is not considered a paid carer).
Not be your health provider or a service provider for a residential service where you are a resident.
Revoking your POA
You may revoke a general POA or an enduring POA at any time as long as you have the capacity to make this decision.
When appointing or revoking a POA, you must complete and lodge the required paperwork. Appointment and Revocation forms are available from a lawyer or through the Queensland Government website.
Do you need some help understanding the process of appoint an attorney or lodging the required paperwork? Get in touch with our team for a confidential discussion.
*From 30 November 2020, changes will come into effect to enduring power of attorney and advance health directive forms. Visit the Queensland Government website for details or speak with your lawyer.