The most common and most concerning thing I hear on a daily basis about Powers of Attorney (“POA”) is: “I’ll make that when I need it, I don’t think I really need it now”.
As a lawyer I wince every time I hear this statement knowing that when a person needs a POA – well, that is going to be too late! A POA, for most people, is made to appoint a person/s to make decisions on your behalf once you have lost capacity. You can appoint an Attorney to make financial decisions, that’s all your banking, paying your bills and buying and selling property for you, investing in shares and making donations, and personal and health decisions, that is your medical and general personal decisions.
Did you know your attorney can make the decision of where you are going to live, people who will visit you and even what food you are going to eat?
The thing most people don’t consider (which is a very important thing) is that you need to have capacity when you make a POA. Unless you have a crystal ball then no one knows when capacity could be lost.
Capacity can be lost due to a freak accident, it is not something that gradually goes away in all situations, like dementia.
I’d think most people would think that the nomination of an attorney then would be an important decision to make and a very important document to have made early. By the making of a POA you take control over who will make very important decisions for you when your life is in crisis.
If you have not made a POA then a Tribunal Member of the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal, who you have never met and does not know you, will have the power to appoint the person/s who will make these decisions for you. Not getting on with a family member? The Tribunal Member may decide that person is the most appropriate person to look after your financial affairs or make your personal and health decisions for you.
If you want to take control of your and your family’s future, of which none of us know what will happen or when, then you need to make a Power of Attorney early.