Understanding the different types of power of attorney

One of the most important components of estate planning is appointing an attorney, but what many people don’t realise is that there are two different types. Knowing what separates one from the other is crucial, especially if you want to ensure your wishes are going to be fully met.

The two types of power of attorney you need to be aware of are general powers of attorney and enduring powers of attorney. We’ve put together this guide to help you distinguish between the two while writing your will.

Enduring power of attorney

There may come a time in your life when you are unable to make financial and health-related decisions for yourself, which is where your enduring power of attorney will step in.

Your attorney will take control of the decision making process on your behalf, so it’s important to select someone who you trust completely. It is recommended that you speak to a wills and estates lawyer, who will be able to offer you specific guidance on the right way to proceed.

In most cases, your attorney will take up their role only if you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. However, it is possible for you to revoke your control on a specific date, or once a certain event has occurred.

General power of attorney

The other type of power of attorney you will need to consider is a general power of attorney. Unlike enduring powers of attorney, an attorney appointed under a general power of attorney will not take up the position once you lose capacity, but when you decide to hand over control.

A general power of attorney is more common in a business context. The person or people you appoint will be responsible for making certain financial decisions – such as purchasing or transferring property or land – when you are not in a position to do so. This includes while you are residing or travelling overseas.