What is a Power of Attorney


A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person to make decisions for you while you are alive. In Queensland, there are two types of powers of attorney, and depending on the one you choose, your attorney can be granted the power to manage your assets and make decisions about financial, personal and healthcare matters.

Using a power of attorney to appoint someone to act on your behalf means you’ll have help to make important decisions in moments where you need support. Granting a power of attorney is a very personal and important decision, and it’s a good way of planning for the future. We’re going to discuss both types of powers of attorney to help you understand the system and how it can be used to protect your most important affairs.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney is a document where you (the principal) appoints another person (the attorney) to act on your behalf. An attorney can be granted general decision-making powers, or the power of attorney may relate to specific matters, such as buying a property.

In Queensland, general powers of attorney exclude all personal matters. In most cases that means general powers of attorney are used to address financial, business and commerce matters. For example, a general power attorney could be used to authorise another person to:

  • Vote at meetings
  • Make financial decisions
  • Manage a bank account
  • Make investments
  • Buy or sell a property
  • Pay your expenses (such as while you are overseas)

Your general power of attorney must specify when and in what circumstances powers are being granted. Depending on your needs, you could design a power of attorney to authorise someone for a certain period of time, or for a specific purpose. Once that purpose is achieved, the power of attorney comes to an end.

It’s important to note that a general power of attorney can only be granted by someone who is capable of making decisions for themselves. If you lose the capacity to make decisions, a general power of attorney will no longer be valid.

Enduring Power of Attorney

Enduring powers of attorney can be used to authorise someone to act on your behalf when you no longer have the capacity to manage your own personal and financial affairs. 

An enduring power of attorney can only be created while you have the capacity to make your own decisions. The document created with the help of a Brisbane family lawyer will come into effect during periods where your capacity has become impaired, or in the circumstances specified in the document. Just like general powers of attorney, enduring powers of attorney can be used to authorise someone to make financial decisions on your behalf. Importantly though, your attorney will also be able to make decisions about personal matters, including:

  • Your living arrangements
  • Health care
  • Support services
  • Personal legal matters

To ensure your attorney acts as you want them to, it’s important to have your enduring power of attorney drafted by a solicitor. A professional lawyer will be able to help you create a document that grants specific powers to your attorney and instructs them in how you’d like to have your affairs managed. For specific inclusions around business finances or property, it’s best to speak with our commercial lawyers Brisbane wide first.

How to Choose Your Attorney

Granting powers of attorney is a personal and very important decision. The person you appoint needs to be someone you trust to act in your best interests when you are unable to do so yourself. That said, there are only a few restrictions placed on who you can appoint as your attorney. The person must:

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Not be a paid carer or health provider
  • Not be a bankrupt or have personal insolvency arrangement in place (if being appointed as an attorney for financial purposes)

You don’t need to appoint a personal acquaintance to be your attorney. If you’d rather, you can choose to appoint the Public Trustee to take care of your financial matters and the Public Guardian to take care of your personal matters.

Need Help Drafting Powers of Attorney? Contact FP Lawyers Today!

Granting powers of attorney to someone you trust is an important part of managing your estate and planning for the future. Alongside advanced care directives and your Will and estate plan, powers of attorney can help you protect your assets and provide for your loved ones. The team at FP Lawyers has decades of experience in creating Wills, estate plans and powers of attorney.

We can help you craft documents that authorise other people to act on your behalf while still looking after your health and your best interests. Contact us today to make an appointment for a confidential discussion with our specialist legal team!

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