General powers of attorney

Overview

A general (non-enduring) power of attorney is a document that you (the “principal”) use to authorise another person (called your “attorney”) to make decisions in relation to your financial and legal affairs. How long this authority lasts and what it covers depends on what is included in the document that grants the authority. The form is set out in schedule 1 of the POA Act.

Unless the document specifies a date on which the authority will cease, it lasts until you choose to withdraw it, or your attorney chooses to resign. Either should be done in writing. The authority is automatically terminated when you die, become bankrupt, or you lose the capacity to make reasonable decisions.

For the document to be valid, you must be over 18 years old and be able to understand:

the nature of what you are signing;

the powers granted to your attorney; and

what powers you retain.