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Power of Attorney

What is a power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows a person (known as the donee or attorney) to act on behalf of someone else (known as the donor or principal), which could be a person or a company. The Power of Attorney grants the donee the legal authority to deal with the donor’s financial affairs. The powers granted under a Power of Attorney are strictly limited to financial affairs and cannot extend to medical affairs which require an Advance Care Directive. It is possible to provide general or limited powers under a Power of Attorney. For example the Power of Attorney could be limited to a sale of a property, granting the donee powers to execute all necessary documents on behalf of the donor to complete the sale. A donor does not lose their power by executing a Power of Attorney.

Types of Power of Attorney

There are two types of Power of Attorney: A General Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney. A General Power of Attorney provides the donee with either general or limited powers in relation to the donor’s financial affairs. However, this type of Power of Attorney automatically ceases once the donor becomes medically incapacitated. On the other hand, Enduring Power of Attorneys can also grant general or limited powers to the donee, however they continue to operate even when a donor becomes medically incapacitated, allowing the donee to continue financial dealings on behalf of the donor. Both types of Power of Attorney end when the donor dies.

Executing a Power of Attorney

Once a Power of Attorney is prepared, and the document is explained to the donor then it must be executed in a particular manner to make it effective. The Donor must sign the document in the presence of an authorised witness who does not hold an interest in the Power of Attorney. The authorised witness could either be a Justice of the Peace or a Commissioner for Taking Affidavits in the Supreme Court of South Australia. Once the Donor finalises the Power of Attorney, then the donee should sign the declaration accepting the appointment.

Registering the Power of Attorney

In the event that the Power of Attorney is required to be used for any real estate transactions in South Australia it will be necessary that the document is registered. The Power of Attorney can be lodged at the Land Services Group with the registration fee of $152 for each document requiring registration, which payment must be made at the time of lodgement. The document will then be stamped and allocated a Registration Number, which can then be quoted in future real estate dealings. If the land is located in another State then the Power of Attorney will need to be registered in that State.

To arrange an appointment to prepare your Power of Attorney contact Websters Lawyers.

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