General power of attorney (SA) templates

What you need to know about a general power of attorney document if you're based in South Australia.

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If you're moving overseas or are otherwise going to be unable to manage your finances, you may want to appoint a general power of attorney. This document gives you financial decision-making responsibilities to someone else, typically a close family or friend.

Read on to find out the key points of general power of attorney documents for South Australia.

What is a general power of attorney?

A general power of attorney is a document that allows the attorney to financially act on the principal's behalf while they are either overseas or just are otherwise unable to manage their own finances for a set period.

The document specifies the purpose, circumstances and period for which the attorney will hold this power. The donor and the donee must agree to come under a contract and the attorney must be 18 years or older.

A general power of attorney either ends after the period mentioned on the document, or it ends when the principal has died or is no longer legally capable of making decisions.

A principal is deemed incapable when they suffer an accident, a disability or mental health issues making them incapable of making decisions for themselves.

A general power of attorney in South Australia is covered under the Power of Attorney and Agency Act of 1984.

Download a general power of attorney template now

General power of attorney (SA) template from Lawpath

Download this template at Lawpath

When should I use a general power of attorney document?

A general power of attorney is used when someone will not be able to manage their own financial assets. This can be for a variety of reasons, for example, you have to go overseas for an extended time in the middle of a land deal. You can appoint an individual whom you trust to be your attorney to finish your transaction. Power of attorney is managed at a state level, so your financial assets will need to reside in South Australia for this to apply.

When this document is created and agreed to, the attorney can make financial decisions such as paying bills, investing money and buying or selling land on behalf of the principal.

An attorney can be your friend or family or anyone you trust. Anyone who is a nominated beneficiary in your will can also be your attorney. However, it is advised not to appoint your partner or your children who are financially dependent on you, as an attorney.

General power of attorney vs enduring power of attorney

A general power of attorney is different from an enduring power of attorney. While both are crafted when the principal is legally capable of making their decisions, they differ in their extent of powers, occasion and time of validity.

Under an enduring power of attorney, the donee is capable of making personal decisions on behalf of the principal. This includes lifestyle, health, legal and financial decisions. This document comes into play after the person has become incapable of making decisions for themselves, but the agreement needs to be set up when they are still of sound mind.

The document also does not have an end date. It starts as soon as it is signed by both the parties or starts after an occasion or specific time mentions on the document.

What does a general power of attorney usually include and not include?

A general power of attorney is a simple document and usually includes details of power given to the appointed individual.


A general power of attorney document may include the following:

  • Names and ages of the principal and all the attorneys
  • The power of the attorney
  • Date and duration of validity of the document
  • Signatures of the principal and the attorneys which are completed in front of a witness
  • Signature, designation, address and the printed name of a witness.

Not included

  • The document does not typically include extended powers for the attorney like the power to take legal or lifestyle decisions for the principal.

How effective is a general power of attorney document?

After the form is acknowledged in front of a witness, it becomes a formal document. It is legally valid when the witness signs it. It can be used in the court of law for any future disputes or claims by either the principal or the attorney.

Do I need to use a lawyer for a general power of attorney?

A general power of attorney is a straightforward document, however, you may might want to get yours checked by a lawyer for peace of mind. As the document is formally viable, receiving some legal advice on the document might be a smart move.

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How do I write a general power of attorney document?

You can write a power of attorney using this do-it-yourself kit from the government. Elsewhere, a Public Trustee can prepare the document for you. Or you may find a lawyer from the Law Society of South Australia website to help you make a legally-sound document.

Alternatively, you can download a template from other verified websites (including via the table above).

  • Lawpath lets its users customise and download the general power of attorney for free. Just sign in to use it and you could make your document in under 10 minutes.
  • The Land Services South Australia offers a range of free forms to download.

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