Ryan is 70 and the sole carer of his only child Michael, 45, who has autism. Ryan and Michael are taking an overseas holiday to visit their extended family for several months. To assist financially, Ryan has decided to put his vacant block on the market hoping it will sell quickly. However, Ryan is due to leave in one month and the property has still not sold. Ryan realises it will be extremely difficult to arrange any potential sale from overseas and as his siblings are elderly, he does not want to burden them with the legal responsibilities involved in the transaction.

Instead, Ryan saw his legal adviser, Janet, who had prepared his Will the previous year. Janet prepared a General Power of Attorney which specifically authorised Ryan’s accountant Samuel to have authority to sign all documents on his behalf regarding the sale of the land. Samuel’s powers would be limited to issues regarding the sale of the property only.

Janet also advised Ryan that as events out of their control could happen to either Michael or himself during their travels, such as an accident or loss of passport, that both Ryan and Michael should consider making an Enduring Power of Attorney. In the event of unforeseen circumstances such as either of them being involved in a car accident and ending up in a coma, an Enduring Power of Attorney would enable their attorney to have the authority to handle finances on their behalf until they recovered. Also, should either of them lose or have their passports and bank cards stolen, then their attorney could handle any ensuing issues for them in Australia.

Ryan made the decision to prepare a General Power of Attorney appointing his accountant Samuel to enable him to handle the sale of the property and also, an Enduring Power of Attorney to enable his sibling, should it be so required, to handle his affairs while he was overseas. Janet advised Ryan that the Enduring Power of Attorney to his sibling would continue to operate, even if Ryan should lose his capacity or until he revoked (cancelled) the document.

Janet discussed the issues of future planning privately with Michael and ascertained that he had the capacity to give instructions.   On Michael’s instructions, Janet prepared a Will and an Enduring Power of Attorney which appointed Michael’s friend Mary as his attorney.

A General Power of Attorney remains legal only while you still have capacity.

An Enduring Power of Attorney continues to have effect even after you lose mental capacity. This is particularly important for elderly people.

A Power of Attorney can be created to allow your attorney to perform specific duties only.