Power of Attorney – who to choose?

Are you thinking about putting in place a legal framework that will allow someone else to make decisions on your behalf if you loose the capacity to make decisions for yourself ?

Now is time to take control of your future so that should you lose capacity you have chosen a trusted advocate to act on your behalf. What are some of the issues you might consider in reviewing or making this decision?

WHY do I need a power of attorney or enduring power of attorney?

These legal documents allow you to give another person the legal right to make decisions for you in circumstances where you delegate these decisions and/or in the event that you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself.

WHO should I choose?

This decision can only by made by you! No one can tell you who you should assign this responsibility to.

The person you assign should be someone who

  • is over the age of 18 years (Australia)
  • has the legal capacity to act in the role (they are not deemed ‘incompetent’),
  • you trust,
  • knows you and your wishes,
  • does not have a conflict, that is that you believe they can be impartial and will always act in your interest.
  • you feel or know can do the job,
  • is healthy and robust and will be able to take on the role when and if it comes time to,
  • has demonstrated they are able to manage financial and other decisions, and
  • doesn’t live too far away, if possible.

What to do when I’ve chosen?

  1. Confirm the person you’ve chosen is willing and able to take on this role – don’t just assume they will want to.
  2. Provide them with information on what the role entails.
  3. Complete the necessary forms and applications.

Useful Australian Links

Complete list of all Public Advocate Offices around Australia and their websites and contact details are available from the Department of Health and Ageing website (follow link)

All these linked websites have a range of tools and resources to help you understand how a power of attorney or enduring power of attorney operate. They will also guide you through the process for assigning this ‘power’.

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