Power of Attorney – FAQs

The power of attorney is a simple legal document that can save a lot of hassle and expense if put into place BEFORE it is needed. Read through these few FAQs relating to the power of attorney and call our office on 02 9687 8885 if you still have any questions.

  • A power of attorney is a legal document that appoints someone (your attorney) to manage your financial and legal affairs on your behalf. In New South Wales, there are two kinds of power of attorney:

    • general power of attorney
    • enduring power of attorney
  • A general power of attorney will only be valid while you are able to make your own decisions. If you lose your mental capacity and you are unable to make your own decisions, the general power of attorney will no longer be valid. You might use a general power of attorney if you are not able to be physically present and you need someone to act on your behalf (ie, if you are travelling).

    Unlike a general power of attorney, an enduring power of attorney continues to have effect even if you lose capacity (ie, if you are unconscious or suffering from mental incapacity). Appoint an enduring power of attorney ensures that your attorney can continue to take care of your financial matters when you cannot do it yourself.

  • Deciding on who you should appoint as your attorney, whether it is in a general power of attorney or an enduring power of attorney, is an important decision. Your attorney must be capable of making decisions on your behalf and acting in your best interest – naturally, this should be someone that you trust and they are able to manage your financial matters. Most people appoint close family members, or they appoint professional advisers such as their lawyer or accountant. Your attorney must be an adult person (ie, at least 18 years old).
  • Yes, you can appoint as many attorneys as you like – however, appointing multiple attorneys can create other legal and practical complications and so you should seek our advice before doing so. If you intend on appointing more than one attorney, you will also need to decide whether you appoint them a jointly, jointly and severally, or as alternates.
  • Your attorney can do as much and as little as you like in terms of your financial matters. Your attorney’s powers are determined by law and by what is stated in your power of attorney. You can grant specific powers or impose limits on the attorney’s powers in the power of attorney. For example, they will be able to access your bank accounts, access your documents, and sell or lease your property.

    Your attorney cannot make decisions that relate to lifestyle, health or welfare. These decisions can only be made by you or your appointed guardian (see Enduring Guardianship).

  • The template used to prepare a power of attorney can be easily downloaded from the internet – there are many versions available. However, it is important that you use the right template that is relevant to what you want it to do and where you want to do it. Different states and different countries have different laws and so you need to make sure that whatever you find on the internet is appropriate. If you are looking to appoint an attorney in New South Wales, you should call our office on 02 9687 8885 for more information regarding our services to assist you in preparing a power of attorney.If you want to make an enduring power of attorney, there are other requirements that you need to follow – including obtaining a certificate from a ‘prescribed witness’ to confirm that they have provided you with advice and they have witnessed you signing the enduring power of attorney.

  • Making a power of attorney is not expensive but it can save a lot of future expense if you need to rely on it. If you would like to find out more about our services or to obtain a quote, please request for a quote or call our office on 02 9687 8885.
  • There can be many reasons why you need to make a power of attorney. Many people need a power of attorney because they plan to travel but they need someone to look after their financial matters while they are away. Some people want to prepare for possibility of misfortune or accident, or they have a high possibility of mental disease (due to age or family history), and they want to make sure that someone will be able to look after their financial matters when they cannot.Making a power of attorney does not mean that you lose or give up control over your financial affairs. You appoint an attorney to simply look after your financial matters on your behalf (following their duties at law, or according to your instructions) while also acting in your best interest. Appointing that attorney also is not final and you can change your mind should you wish and revoke the power of attorney.

  • You can revoke a power of attorney. Revoking a power of attorney is a formal process which you must do in writing and provide a copy of the revocation to your attorney. It is important that you follow the requirements to ensure that there is no misunderstanding and that there is no reason your attorney would continue to legally act on your behalf. If you are intending to revoke a power of attorney, you should contact our office immediately on 02 9687 8885 so that we can assist you with the formal process.
  • If you intend for your attorney to be involved in property transactions on your behalf, then the power of attorney will need to be registered with the Land and Property Information. Please contact our office on 02 9687 8885 to discuss your requirements and we can provide you with a quote for registering your power of attorney.