TURNER RIDDELL LAWYERS
Power of Attorneys and Advance Health Directives:
A General Power of Attorney is a legal document gives one or more people you nominate specific authority to make financial decisions on your behalf. This power to make decisions is usally for a set amount of time only. This kind of power of attorney is most often used in business situations.
An Enduring Power of Attorney continues in the event that you can’t manage your affairs and can cover both financial and personal health decisions. If you have an accident or illness and can’t make decisions for yourself, the enduring power of attorney gives decision making power to the person you’ve nominated, so it’s a very important document for everyone, young and old alike.
The decisions your attorney can make include include:
- Financial attorney: paying bills, dealing with Centrelink, taxation, investments, and property management
- Personal/health attorney: your living arrangements, and your health care
- Advance Health Directives: your wishes for mediacal treatment in end of life circumstances
It is a good idea to have both and Advance Health Directive and a Power of Attorney in place. If you become so ill that you can’t make decisions for yourself, these two documents together allow your attorney to make necessary decisions on your behalf.
Who can make a Power of Attorney or Advance Health Directive?
Anyone over the age of 18 who has the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the document, who makes the decisions in the document of their own free will and who can communicate clearly what those decisions are.
When should I make a Power of Attorney or an Advance Health Directive?
Right now, before you need it is the best possible time, especially if you are going into hospital, or if you have a medical condition which could deteriorate and diminish your ability to make decisions.
Who should I appoint to be my Attorney?
You need to appoint someone you implicity trust to make the right decisions. You can appoint more than one person if you wish, and you can specify exactly how they make their decisions – jointly or separately. For financial decisions, make sure that the person you appoint has the necessary skills to deal with your finances.
Who should I talk to about it?
It’s really important that you discuss these documents with a lawyer who can give you professional advice about your particular circumstances. It’s also necessary for you to discuss your Advance Health Directive with your doctor, as they can explain the terminology involved. It’s also recommended that you discuss your wishes with your family to avoid unnecessary conflict and stress.
Can I change my mind?
Yes, as long as you still have the decision making capacity to do so you can revoke or change these documents. This has to be done in a legally binding way, however, so please seek legal advice.
Contact Us to find out more or to arrange an appointment.
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