Powers of Attorney
The completion of a Power of
Attorney or an Enduring Power of Attorney is an important aspect of a complete
estate planning package.
A Power of Attorney will cover most situations where perhaps you are going to be overseas for a short time and need someone here to handle some business transactions on your behalf. The attorney can only act for you while you are mentally capable.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a different form of document altogether and there are two types, Property and Personal Care & Welfare. The Property one enables the attorney to look after your assets and the Personal Care one covers the other aspects of your life and welfare. The attorney can act for you even if you become mentally incapable.
Enduring Powers of Attorney used to be able to be completed quite simply however a stupid piece of legislation passed in 2008 now means that the documents have to be witnessed by a lawyer or Registered Legal Executive working under the direct supervision of a lawyer. This change in the rules has greatly increased the cost of Enduring Powers of Attorney with solicitors now charging hundreds of $ just to explain a simple document and witness a signature where these used to completed for $40 or $50 each.
There are still some circumstances where an Enduring Power of Attorney should be completed but generally we are now recommending that clients complete a normal Power of Attorney to reduce the costs.
There is a move to have the legislation revised and hopefully this will happen sooner rather than later.