Power of attorney
There may be a time when it's necessary to appoint someone to manage your financial, medical or personal affairs. This may be because there's an immediate short-term need, such as an extended overseas trip, or a long-term need to plan for an aged person or someone with a disability or illness.
General power of attorney
If you give another person a 'power of attorney', it simply means you give that person the power to act on your behalf (for example, to buy and sell things for you or operate your bank account).
Giving a power of attorney doesn't mean you lose control over your affairs. You can still deal with all matters, while your 'donee' (the person you appoint to act on you behalf) can do the things you have authorised. The donee must agree to act for you - you cannot make someone your donee against their wishes.
A general power of attorney can be created for a specified time - otherwise it ceases when you die or if you become legally incapacitated. If you wish to have someone who can act for you if you become legally incapacitated, you must make an ‘enduring power of attorney’.
Enduring power of attorney
An enduring power of attorney is a power of attorney that continues to operate even after you become legally incapacitated - eg if you become of unsound mind or are unable to communicate in any way, perhaps after a stroke. Taking the time to make an enduring power of attorney means your financial affairs can be looked after by someone you know and trust.
You can't make a power of attorney after you have become legally incapacitated. If a person's capacity at the time of making a power of attorney may be in doubt, then it is best to get a doctor's written opinion confirming that the donor appeared able to understand the nature and effect of the document at the time of signing.
You can cancel your enduring power of attorney at any time, as long as you still have legal capacity.
Revocation of enduring power of attorney form - Land Services SA (located under 'Registration forms')
How to make a power of attorney
There are a few ways you can make a power of attorney or enduring power of attorney.
The Public Trustee can prepare your documentation if you appoint them as your attorney.
Engage a solicitor - find a lawyer near you on the Law Society of SA website.
The easiest way to make an enduring power of attorney is to buy an Enduring Power of Attorney Kit, developed by the Legal Services Commission. The kit includes the forms you'll need and explains how to complete and use them. It also has detailed instructions and answers to common questions. If you're still uncertain after reading the kit, it's advisable to seek legal advice.
Purchase a do-it-yourself kit online or from Service SA:
108 North Terrace
Extra forms can be purchased from Service SA or downloaded for free from the Land Services SA website (if the forms don't open immediately, save them to your computer and open them from there):
- Power of attorney form P1 - Land Services SA (located under 'Registration forms')
- Enduring power of attorney form P2 - Land Services SA (located under 'Registration forms').
Powers of Attorney - The Law Handbook, Legal Services Commission