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– are going overseas or interstate
– are going into hospital
– are physically unable to look after your affairs
– want something dealt with in another part of the country
Remember, an ordinary power of attorney has no effect if you lose capability to manage your own affairs.
You will need to choose a person who is trustworthy and responsible enough to manage your finances. Unless there are special conditions, your attorney has power to dispose of your assets. Before you appoint someone you should be sure that they will do all the things you want. Your attorney is legally bound to carry out the written instructions in the power and any other instructions you may give while you are of sound mind.
The courts can intervene if your attorney acts dishonestly or improperly, but this can be expensive and may be hard to prove so be careful about choosing your attorney. You can appoint the Public Trustee or trustee company, but charges are applied. You should contact these bodies if you wish to appoint them. You can appoint more than one attorney but you should choose people who can coordinate well. You will need to see a solicitor or chamber magistrate to decide whether you want your attorneys to act jointly (together) or severally (separately).
Note If you keep the power of attorney document in your possession, it cannot be used against your wishes. A power of attorney can be completely general. This is what most people choose to do but you can limit the power in any way you like, such as allowing the attorney to pay only certain kinds of bills or sell your house, or limiting the time the power will operate. You should see a solicitor if you want to put limits or conditions on your attorney.
Powers of attorney can be registered at Land & Property Information NSW, Queens Square, Sydney, but in some cases this is not necessary. The advantages of registering your power of attorney are that it will be:
– on record as a public document
– safe from loss or destruction
– more easily accepted as evidence that your attorney can deal
with your property and financial affairs
Your power of attorney must be registered if you want your attorney to sell, mortgage or in some cases, lease your land or to deal with shares. To register a power of attorney you should take the completed form to Land & Property Information NSW. A fee applies. Their office will keep an official copy of your power of attorney. The original will be returned to you stamped with a registration number. Your attorney should use this number when signing on your behalf.
Community Legal Centres - Some community legal centres will assist you for free or at low cost.
Private Solicitors - Many private solicitors will prepare a power of attorney for less than $100.
The Public Trustee - The Public Trustee will prepare a power of attorney at no cost if they are appointed as the attorney.
Chamber Magistrates - Chamber magistrates are at most local courts. The clerk of the local court can witness an enduring power of attorney. This service is free.
2a Rowntree Street, Balmain NSW 2041
Locked Bag 9, Balmain NSW 2041
Phone (02) 9555 8500
Toll free 1800 463 928
TTY (02) 9552 8534
Fax (02) 9555 9049
The information in this document is provided to help you plan ahead in relation to your property and financial affairs. It is not legal advice. If you decide to make a power of attorney, seek legal assistance.