A Power of Attorney is an instrument whereby a person (the Appointor) appoints another or others (the Attorney/s) to act in their place. An appointment can be for a limited time or for a specific purpose, or it can be widely drafted and gives the Attorney broad powers. It may be unlimited. A person should only be appointed as an Attorney if the Appointor has complete confidence in them.
An Attorney has a duty to act in the interests of the Appointor unless the instrument expressly otherwise provides. An Attorney will be liable for any breach of this duty but restitution may not be possible.
An Enduring appointment gives the Attorney the power to continue to make legal decisions on behalf of the Appointor when the Appointor loses capacity and is unable to make their own decisions, such as the sale of a home and entering into an agreement on behalf of the Appointor for aged care living or moving into a nursing home.
An Enduring Power of Attorney must be witnessed by a prescribed person, eg: a solicitor.
A Power of Attorney does not give the Attorney the right to make decisions regarding a person’s health, care, medical treatment and the like; that authority is conferred by an Appointment of Enduring Guardian.