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CHANGES TO LEGISLATION GOVERNING POWERS OF ATTORNEY

CHANGES TO LEGISLATION GOVERNING POWERS OF ATTORNEY

Until recently, Powers of Attorney have been governed by the Conveyancing Act 1919. The Power of Attorney Bill 2003 was enacted in February 2004 and has consolidated and revised the legislation relating to Powers of Attorney and make consequential amendments to the Conveyancing Act 1919.

One of the changes that the new Act will bring relates to enduring Powers of Attorney, that is, Powers of Attorney that continue to be effective when the donor suffers loss of mental capacity. Under the new legislation, a Solicitor will need to sign a Solicitor's Certificate stating that he/she is convinced that the donor has the mental capacity to sign and not only will the appointer, or nominator, be required to sign the Power of Attorney, but also the nominated attorney to accept the nomination.

As these changes are about to occur, now is a good time for you to review your estate plan, and to take a closer look at what safeguards you have in place to protect your assets and your family in the event that you are unable to attend to your financial affairs.

As unpredictable as life is, there may come a time when you are unable to manage your financial and personal affairs. Accidents and unforseen circumstances can arise, so it is important you have adequate safeguards in place, in the event that you are unable or incapable of making financial or personal decisions for yourself.

Appointing an attorney will give your representative the necessary legal authority to act on your behalf, ensuring your family is taken care of financially and your business interests are placed in the hands of someone you trust. You may appoint an attorney to act for you in a variety of circumstances such as an overseas or interstate trip, or for a time when you can no longer physically care for yourself. You may also chose to appoint an attorney who can act on your behalf even if you lose mental capacity.

To ensure your personal matters and lifestyle decisions are similarly protected, you may also elect to appoint a guardian who can help you make personal and lifestyle decisions, and give instructions to health professionals as to your wishes concerning medical treatments in the event that you are unable to make these decisions on your own. An enduring guardian may also be of assistance in providing your loved ones with specific instructions as to what medical treatments you would like to receive in the event of particular circumstances arising.

FURTHER INFORMATION 

This Information Outline is provided courtesy of Matthews Folbigg who are experienced in this area of law. They are located at Level 7 The Barrington, 10-14 Smith Street, Parramatta NSW 2124 or call them on (02) 9635-7966 if you would like more information on this legal topic, or you wish to obtain formal advice regarding your situation.

MatthewsFolbigg is a large commercial law firm based in Parramatta, New South Wales. The firm has Accredited Specialists in Business Law, Property, Immigration, Family Law and Personal Injury. MatthewsFolbigg has specialist groups advising clients in corporate structures, intellectual property, and information technology plus franchising, estate planning and insolvency work.

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