In Australia, an attorney is not necessarily a lawyer, although a lawyer can also act as an attorney for someone who wants this.
An attorney is a person you appoint to look after your finances if you are unable to do so because of illness, being away from home,(e.g. overseas) or any other reason that would make it difficult for you if you can't manage your finances yourself.
- This includes doing your banking for you, signing any financial documents on your behalf and signing for the transfer of your property if you want it sold and are unable to sign yourself.
- Finances include your property as well as shares, business interests, investments and bank accounts, anything that has a money value.
- The attorney only manage or organise your finances if you are not able to do so yourself and only with your instructions unless you are mentally unable, or your health is such that you can't make those decisions yourself.
- The position is a responsible one, and you need to choose someone you can trust to look after your finances appropriately.
- You can have one or more attorneys, and you can have an alternate attorney if your first chosen attorney cannot assist when needed.
- An attorney can be appointed for a short time, or indefinitely.
- You can revoke (withdraw) the Power of Attorney if you wish to do so.
- A lawyer needs to witness your signature on a Power of Attorney Form.
- Your appointed attorney or attorneys do not have to have their signatures witnessed.
- An original Power of Attorney must be provided to the Department of Lands if your house needs to be sold and should be kept by you in a safe place until that is needed.
- Copies of the Power of Attorney can be certified as true copies by a lawyer or Justice of the Peace and it is the copies that should be provided to whoever must be informed for your Attorney to act for you.
- A Power of Attorney ceases if you die and your Will is then applicable.
A Power of Attorney only relates to your finances, and not your health or other needs when an Enduring Guardianship is required.