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A general power of attorney is a formal document that will allow someone to make financial and legal decisions for another. Each Australian state has a different power of attorney document, so if you live in Queensland, you will need a specific template.
Find out exactly what a power of attorney is, how it works and where to find free templates for Queensland.
What's in this guide?
- What is the general power of attorney?
- When should I use a general power of attorney document?
- A general power of attorney vs enduring power of attorney
- A general power of attorney vs guardianship
- What does a general power of attorney document include and not include?
- How effective is a general power of attorney document?
- Do I need a lawyer for a general power of attorney document?
- Compare legal templates online
- How do I write a general power of attorney document?
- Where to get free legal documents and templates online
What is the general power of attorney?
A general power of attorney is a legal document where the 'principal' appoints an 'attorney' to make financial decisions on their behalf. The principal is someone who creates the power of attorney by appointing someone to manage their legal and financial decisions.
These financial decisions include selling or renting a house as well as paying your bills. A general power of attorney is valid only when the principal is mentally capable of making decisions or is alive.
The principal has lost the capacity to decide if they cannot:
- Understand the nature and effect of the decision
- Freely and voluntarily make the decision
- Communicate the decision in some way.
In case of land transactions, the attorney must register themselves under the titles registry before they can act on the principal's behalf.
When should I use a general power of attorney document?
You can appoint a power of attorney when you are going overseas for some time and wish to free yourself from handling the burdens at home. Someone can also appoint a power of attorney if they are incapacitated or want to cover themselves if they fall ill. You can only appoint an attorney when you are of a sound mind and capable of making decisions.
An attorney is someone the principal can trust, and in most cases is a relative or close friend.
A general power of attorney vs enduring power of attorney
In Queensland, there are two types of power of attorney- general. A general power of attorney is only capable of making financial decisions on the principal's behalf, and this binding document is only valid until the principal revokes it, dies or is no longer capable of making decisions.
An enduring power of attorney in Queensland is capable of making legal and financial decisions on behalf of the principal. The principal can appoint an attorney to start making decisions on their behalf straight away or at some point after they are incapable of making their own decisions. The date of effect is mentioned in the document.
A general power of attorney vs guardianship
Both the general power of attorney and guardianship allows other appointed individuals to take decisions on behalf of an adult. Under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990, guardians are the substitute decision-makers on behalf of the individuals who are unable to make decisions themselves due to a disability. These disabilities include intellectual disability, dementia, acquired brain injury or mental illness.
Guardians are capable of making personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions on behalf of the principal. The State Administrative Tribunal can also appoint a guardian when you are at risk of neglect or abuse due to your disability.
What does a general power of attorney document include and not include?
A general power of attorney (QLD) document includes clauses specifying the extent of powers of the attorney.
- General acknowledgement. The form starts with the full name and age of both the principal and the attorney. Both the parties must be 18 years or above and capable of making decisions to proceed with the form.
- Decision making. If the principal has appointed more than one attorney, the form must specify how the attorneys will make decisions. They can either go with the majority, make joint decisions or decide among themselves. The document also includes what powers will the attorneys have and to what extent they can control the finances of the principal.
- The validity of the document. The document must include the exact date the powers of an attorney starts and ends. This can be either immediately, on a specific date or a particular occasion. This section must be filled out carefully and be acknowledged and agreed upon by both the parties.
- Witness. The document must include a signature and designation of the witness who was present during the acknowledgement of the form. Any adult can be the witness. However, if a power of attorney is used for land transactions, the witness must be a justice of the peace, a commissioner for declarations or a lawyer.
The document does not include personal information, such as bank details or property information of either the principal or the attorney.
How effective is a general power of attorney document?
The general power of attorney form is a legally binding document. It ensures the good intent of the attorney, and in case of a dispute, it is valid in court. The document is only useful when both the parties sign and acknowledge it in front of a witness.
Do I need a lawyer for a general power of attorney document?
Anyone can download the general power of attorney form online. It's a simple form to understand and does not require a lawyer. However, as it involves financial decisions, it may be advisable to either get the document checked by a lawyer or get one to be the witness.
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How do I write a general power of attorney document?
When writing a power of attorney, it is essential to mention the extent of powers of the attorney. The document is a formal document and so must be presented clearly. It should be clear how long the document is valid for.
You can also download the general power of attorney forms from verified websites. After you have filled the document, you can store it at a safe place. You do not need to register it at the tiles registry unless there is a financial land transaction taking place.
Where to get free legal documents and templates online
One option is to customise your general power of attorney document from LawDepot. By paying a small fee of $39 for one-time use, you can print and download the form and shape it to meet your specific needs.
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