Choose your attorney carefully

Consider carefully who you choose as your Attorney

Imelda Dodds, CEO NSW Trustee & Guardian advises older people to carefully consider who they choose as their attorney under a Power of Attorney, as the role is not one to be taken lightly.

“The role of an attorney is to manage your financial affairs, so the attorney needs to have the financial acumen to pay bills and look after bank accounts, and if required, the ability to manage investments, such as income from shares and rental properties. It is an important role but one that many people see as purely the responsibility of their nearest and dearest regardless of their skill-set to fulfil this job.”

Appointing someone as your attorney gives a person responsibility for many legal and financial aspects of your life, such as your banking, signing legal documents, collecting rents, paying bills and ensuring you have enough money and resources to live comfortably,” said Ms Dodds.

Older people should also consider the following when reviewing their financial and legal affairs, or when considering monetary requests from anyone:

  • appoint an attorney, under a Power of Attorney, who can manage your financial and legal affairs professionally and independently. You need to know your attorney will competently make decisions and have the business and financial skills to manage your affairs properly.
  • If you are asked by a family member to loan them money, ask yourself, “Can I afford to lose this money?” In theory, if the answer is no then don’t.
  • If you are going to lend money, then seek independent legal advice and arrange to lend the money via a loan agreement.
  • It’s important to understand that if you’re asked to go guarantor, it is because the financial lenders want security because they’re not prepared to take the risk themselves.
  • Make sure you have a professionally drafted Will and continue to update your Will as your circumstances change.

A Will and a Power of Attorney can be considered as companion documents, both are vital in preparing and protecting your financial future. To find out more, visit www.planningaheadtools.com.au or call 1300 887 529.



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