Power of Attorney

Who would you trust if you suddenly couldn’t speak, write or communicate your wishes? Every day, Australians just like you suffer from the unexpected, losing control of their assets, finances and the smallest details of their lives due to accidents and medical emergencies.

Working with Thornton Storgato Law and appointing a Power of Attorney now can minimise further pain, stress and anguish when it counts. Don’t leave your estate plan in any other hands than those you know to be trustworthy.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a document that grants your nominated person permission to act in your place or on your behalf, ensuring the actions you would normally take yourself are carried out to the letter. PoAs can do things like pay bills, settle rent, deposit and withdraw money and fill your shoes when it comes to managing your financial affairs.

Why do you need a Power of Attorney?

When weighing up whether or not they need a Power of Attorney people tend to look into their family medical history. Is there a high incidence of stroke, heart attack, cancer, dementia or other debilitating illnesses in your family? Have you thought about what you’ll do if you’re in a car crash, unable to specify next actions or do basic things like pay bills or the kid’s school fees? What if you are travelling overseas for an extended period and a financial emergency arises that needs your authorisation? A Power of Attorney is your advocate when things go wrong, ensuring your assets are not suddenly inaccessible to your family when you need them the most.

Everything You Need to Know About Power of Attorney

What is the difference between a registered and unregistered Power of Attorney?

While it’s important somebody is empowered to act on your behalf, you also need to ensure you’re protected. An unregistered power of attorney limits the authority your designated person has over your affairs – they can withdraw money to pay a gas bill but they cannot sell property on your behalf. A registered Power of Attorney arrangement is most common between spouses, usually in the event of long term illness. The Thornton Storgato Law team will help you define what is right for you.

Who can be a Power of Attorney?

We recommend you nominate a spouse, child, children or a close friend you trust beyond reproach. Your designated person must be over 18.

What is the difference between an Enduring Power of Attorney and a General Power of Attorney?

A General Power of Attorney is only empowered when you’ve been in a physical accident with no mental ramifications – they are usually tasked with a limited purpose for a certain period, like the sale of a house or business. An Enduring Power of Attorney is appointed for the long haul, even if your mind is impacted by injury or medical issues. They aren’t ordinarily limited to a short list of goals, but continue to advocate for your best interests according to the actions you would have taken.

What happens if you haven’t appointed a Power of Attorney?

If you’re unable to administer your affairs, your assets will be in limbo until an application is registered and approved by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). Since no person has instant rights to your assets – not even your partner or spouse – anybody can become your financial manager, provided they’re recognised as capable by NCAT. If the application fails, a NSW Trustee and Guardian may step in to manage your affairs. In both end scenarios, the person controlling your assets won’t necessary be someone you trust and considerable restrictions may be imposed on how your money is applied.

How do you pick a Power of Attorney?

When selecting a Power of Attorney our clients look at the full picture, including their existing relationship, a history of trustworthiness and if their values line up. They also consider whether the person is attentive to detail; smart with money; business savvy, and able to discuss complex topics with a range of professionals, including lawyers, accountants and doctors, when required? No matter who you plan to nominate, be sure to have an open and honest conversation about the responsibilities and duties of a Power of Attorney, your expectations and the extent of your financial affairs. Walking into a Power of Attorney relationship with both eyes open will further ensure its success.

How do you stop your Power of Attorney from doing the wrong thing?

Nobody wants to be taken for a ride. Work with your power of attorney law firm to limit how the Power of Attorney powers are used, ensuring a list of conditions must be met before any next steps can be taken. That may include a signed statement from a doctor declaring you’re mentally unfit to administer your own affairs.

Can you change your mind and appoint a different Power of Attorney?

Yes, you’re not restricted to your first nomination. If you no longer trust your appointed Power of Attorney, or you’re concerned they won’t be able to act according to your wishes, change the appointment to someone who will.

How much does it cost to appoint a Power of Attorney?

Everybody is different. The complexity of your situation can change any estimate you receive, and while it may be tempting to DIY, saving money on fees and meetings now may endanger your assets in the future.

What makes Thornton Storgato different from other Power of Attorney Law Firms?

If you’re searching for a Power of Attorney lawyer, Thornton Storgato Law stands out for one simple reason – we are thorough. We’ll help you to pin-point the right fit for your Power of Attorney; explore the potential for registration or whether you should delay; analyse the full range of your assets and liabilities, and highlight limiting caveats, ensuring the document we produce is precisely suited to your circumstances.