A power of attorney is a legal document in which you appoint an “attorney” (a trusted person) to make legal, financial and property decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself due to loss of mental capacity. Anyone over the age of 18, who has decision making capacity, can make a power of attorney (for themselves only). It is important to note that your attorney cannot make medical treatment decisions for you unless you appoint them also as your medical power of attorney.
If you become unwell, lose the ability to make decisions or want to be proactive about your personal or financial matters in your older years you may want to consider having a power of attorney in place.
It is important to note that making a power of attorney does not mean you relinquish your control to your personal and financial affairs, rather it gives your attorney the authority to make these decisions if you are unable to make them yourself due to loss of mental capacity.
If you don’t have a power of attorney and are unable to make decisions due to reduced mental capacity, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) can appoint someone to make decisions about financial and personal decisions on your behalf which might not be in line with your wishes.
It is imperative that you only appoint a power of attorney if you have someone you know that is willing to take on the role and understands what is important to you.
You should trust this person to make decisions about financial and personal matters on your behalf as you are giving them the power to make these important decisions for you during a vulnerable time of your life. You should review your choice regularity.
Wyndham Partners is happy to assist you in creating a power of attorney. Our staff has extensive knowledge in the area and would be happy to answer any questions you have on the matter and navigate you through the process to ensure you understand the process and the implications of your decisions.