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Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document usually written with the help of a lawyer. The person you give the power to is called your attorney. In this case attorney does not mean your lawyer, although you may give a power of attorney to your lawyer. A power of attorney allows the person or persons named in the document to take care of your financial and legal business if you cannot do this yourself, or if you wish them to do it for you. A power of attorney does not give a person authority to make decisions about your health care.

Who can be my attorney?

Your attorney can be your spouse or partner, a friend, or a family member. It can be a lawyer, accountant, or a trust company. You can appoint more than one person. Choose someone you trust, someone who knows you well, who knows what you want, and who has the skills to perform the tasks.

The person you choose should be someone who will accept the responsibility. The person must be 18 years or older, must be mentally capable and understand what it means to have power of attorney.

What's the difference between a power of attorney and the Public Trustee?

You give a power of attorney to someone you trust to look after your affairs. You may also give a power of attorney to the Public Trustee if you have no other person to act on your behalf. Otherwise, the Public Trustee usually steps in only after you have been declared incompetent, if you made no arrangements about your financial affairs, or if there are concerns about how your power of attorney is being used. The Public Trustee has the power to take over administration of your finances if your attorney has not been acting in your best interest.


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