Powers of Attorney are often drafted along with a WILL to provide for any unforeseen circumstances arising in a person’s life. Powers of Attorney allow a person to appoint another to act on their behalf in the event they are no longer able to make decisions. Those that are appointed are to act in the principal’s best interests.
Powers of Attorney exist for financial and medical decision making. Upon the principal no longer having the ability or capacity to make their decisions, the pointer may make these financial or medical decisions for them.
It is always advisable to create Powers of Attorney if you are already creating your WILL. All the documents will act together to contain your instructions upon you losing your decision-making abilities and upon your death.
WILLs often contain clauses relating to events where the WILL maker loses their capacity to make financial and/or medical decisions. However, these clauses are now rarely used due to the official power of attorney documents. Each document will explicitly state your wishes and you will explicitly appoint a person to act in your best interests.
It is important to appoint a person you trust to act as your attorney as they will essentially be making your financial, property, legal and medical decisions for you.
The two main requirements for your attorneys is that they are over the age of 18 years and they are of a sound and capable mind.
It is important to inform the person or persons you are appointing as your decision makers so they are aware of their duties when the time comes.
It is advisable to seek legal advice if you wish to appoint a person as your decision maker.
Your legal representative will explain how these documents will work and especially explain when they will come into effect. The documents will be drafted according to your instructions with your full details and the details of the persons you are appointing.
You will also be advised that these documents will need to be signed and witnessed in order to be legally binding. Both the Powers of Attorney and the Medical Treatment Decision Maker will require two witnesses to sight your signing of the document. One witness must be a qualified person such as a lawyer, medical practitioner, or Justice of the Peace. The witnesses will also need to sign the document in your presence.