Powers of Attorney and Financial Managers

A Power of Attorney is a document that appoints another person to attend to financial or legal matters on your behalf. From 13 September 2013 there are now two different forms of appointment of an Attorney, each authorising differing levels of authority provided to the Attorney.

A “General Power of Attorney” can be as broad or as narrow as the circumstances require. It can be limited to a particular transaction or for a specific duration or limited to a defined scope of authority to be conducted by the attorney. The document ceases to have effect if the donor or principal loses mental capacity themselves.
An “enduring” Power of Attorney is a document in the prescribed form which permits the attorney to continue as a substitute financial decision-maker, notwithstanding that the donor or principal has lost the capacity to make decisions themselves.

Attorneys, and specifically Donees appointed by an Enduring Power of Attorney are under a heavy onus to be honest, straightforward and able to account for the expenditure of the Principal’s money.

If the person has lost capacity but there is no particular instrument (a Power of Attorney or Court Order) in place, a concerned individual can apply to the Supreme Court or the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for the appointment of a Financial Manager to make decisions for and on behalf of the Concerned Person