In South Australia there are two important documents you should have to ensure your financial and medical needs are met if you lose capacity to make such decisions:
Who can make a Power of Attorney?
Anyone over the age of 18 who has the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the document, who makes the decisions in the document of their own free will and who can communicate clearly what those decisions are.
When should I make a Power of Attorney and Advance Care Directive?
Before you need it! These documents safeguard your interests in the event of something unforeseen – an accident or illness that robs you of your capacity to make decisions for yourself. It is better to be prepared and confident in knowing that the person you choose will be making important decisions about your money, your living arrangements and your health.
When does it start?
For a Power of Attorney it begins when you nominate that it should. An Advance Care Directive only commences when you are unable to make your own decisions, whether temporarily or permanently.
Who should I appoint to be my Attorney or Substitute Decision Maker?
You need to appoint someone you absolutely trust to make the right decisions on your behalf.
What are the legal responsibilities of my Attorney?
They are legally responsible to you and must act in your best interests. While you have mental capacity they must obey your instructions. They cannot give gifts to themselves or to anyone else unless you specifically authorise this and they must keep their finances and money separate from yours, keeping accurate records of all of their dealings with your money.
Who should I talk to about it?
It’s really important that you discuss these documents with a lawyer who can give you professional advice about your particular circumstances. It’s also vital that you discuss your wishes with your family to avoid unnecessary conflict and stress.
Do I need a witness?
Yes, these documents need to be witnessed by a person with statutory authority such as a solicitor or Notary Public.
Can I change my mind?
Yes, as long as you still have the decision making capacity to do so you can revoke or change these documents. This has to be done in a legally binding way, however, so please seek legal advice.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange an appointment with us