You may need someone to make legal and financial decisions for you if you do not have capacity to do so. This could be because of a serious illness or injury.
The legal document that outlines and authorises someone to manage legal and financial affairs on your behalf is an Enduring Power of Attorney. It:
- must be witnessed by a prescribed witness, which includes solicitors, certain employees of NSW Trustee & Guardian, Registrars of the Local Court, and others
- should be prepared in advance while you have capacity to do so
- ceases to have force when you die
Typical actions an attorney might take include:
- paying your bills
- signing legal documents
- selling or purchasing assets
- managing your money
- accessing bank accounts
You're able to specify any conditions and limitations that the attorney must abide by.
It's important to think carefully about who to appoint under an Enduring Power of Attorney, as they will be responsible for big decisions. And they must have the time and ability to take on the role.
That's why it's important to choose someone that you trust and who you know can:
- understand and communicate your wishes
- manage your finances
- act in your best interests
- keep accurate records
To relieve a friend or family member of this responsibility and potential burden, you can appoint an independent organisation like NSW Trustee & Guardian as your Enduring Power of Attorney.
If you have real estate in NSW
If your attorney needs to deal with your real estate, the Enduring Power of Attorney document will need to be registered with NSW Land Registry Services.
Store your Enduring Power of Attorney document in a safe place so that it can be accessed when needed. You can give a copy to both:
- your solicitor
- the person or organisation you've delegated as Enduring Power of Attorney
You can also store your Enduring Power of Attorney, and other end of life planning documents, for a fee with NSW Trustee & Guardian.