Your Enduring Powers of Attorney are important legal tools that allow you to appoint someone to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf should you be living but unable to make your own decisions.
Appoint someone to manage your property and finances.
Choose someone you trust to manage legal affairs.
Give instructions in advance around medical treatment and preferences.
Protect your lifestyle decisions, including where you live.
Enduring Powers of Attorney are legal documents that allow you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. There are two types of Enduring Powers of Attorney you can make on the Safewill Platform:
Your appointed decision maker(s) will be subject to a number of legal obligations and duties, including to always act in your best interests and in accordance with your written instructions.
A General Power of Attorney operates from the date of signing and becomes invalid when you lose the mental capacity to make your own decisions. In contrast, an Enduring Power of Attorney written on the Safewill platform only comes into effect if you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself.
At Safewill, the Powers of Attorney you create will only come into effect if you lose your decision-making capacity.
The authority given under the Power of Attorney will continue throughout the time you lack decision-making capacity, and will come to an end when you pass away.
Yes, all POAs in Australia need to be signed in the presence of witnesses. The requirements of who constitutes a valid witness will vary from state to state, although generally includes a Justice of the Peace, or in the case of NSW, requires a solicitor. Please take this into account when considering the finalisation of your POA.
Your Will and your Powers of Attorney function at different times to carry out and safeguard your wishes.
Powers of Attorney come into effect while you are still alive but have lost the ability to make decisions for yourself. The effect of the Power of Attorney ends when you pass away.
Your Will, on the other hand, only comes into effect once you pass away. Under your Will, you appoint an Executor to carry out the wishes in your Will, and manage the transfer of your assets to the required beneficiaries upon your death.
People tend to assume that because their loved ones know what their wishes would be in certain circumstances, those same people would have the ability to make decisions on their behalf. However, without a valid Power of Attorney appointment in place, this is unlikely to be the case.
Completing a Power of Attorney document provides certainty that someone you trust is able to help manage your affairs and make decisions on your behalf when it matters most.
For financial matters, this means your chosen attorney can readily access your solely held assets, such as bank accounts that may be required to pay for medical treatment or supporting your dependents. For health matters, a medical Power of Attorney will allow you to appoint someone to speak with doctors and nurses on your behalf about the types of treatment you receive. In some states you can also give your decision maker the ability to make decisions about your personal matters, such as who may visit you, whether you prefer a specific diet (e.g. vegetarian), and which long-term care facility you move to (if necessary).
If there is no valid Power of Attorney and you lose capacity, your loved ones may have to go through alternative, lengthy Court or Tribunal processes to be legally appointed as your decision maker. This means that even if the right person is eventually granted decision making power, there may be significant delay between you losing the ability to make decisions and your decision maker being appointed. Often this can result in bills going unpaid, dependents not being cared for, and medical decisions being made that may not be what you would have wanted.
There is also a chance that a Court or Tribunal will not appoint the person you would have otherwise chosen to make these decisions for you, and an alternative decision maker is appointed. In all these cases, it is much better to have certainty over who will be appointed, and grant them the necessary powers to quickly make decisions if the need ever arose.
You’ll just need 10 minutes and an idea of who you’d trust with decisions around your finances or healthcare. We’ll guide you through the rest.
With a lawyer, Power of Attorney documents can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. It can also be a lengthy and difficult process to go through. You can access your medical and financial Power of Attorney documents at a price of just $99.
With Safewill, completing your Power of Attorney can take as little as 10 minutes.
The details are slightly different in each state, but in all states the principle is the same and your chosen decision makers have the power to make decisions on your behalf. Remember that in all cases, they are legally bound to act in your best interests. Even so, you should make sure to appoint people that you trust completely to fill the role.
Yes, it’s up to you. We’ll ask you if there are any specific limitations or exclusions you want to include in your Powers of Attorney for your decision makers.
The rules are different in each state. In Victoria, creating a new Powers of Attorney document will override any previous documents. In the remaining states, creating a new document will not automatically override any previous documents — if you’d like those previous documents to be terminated, you’ll need to revoke your previous documents separately.