We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
A general power of attorney can free you from financial burdens by appointing someone else to manage your affairs. This can be done for a number of reasons, for example, if you start living overseas and would find it difficult to manage your legal requirements at home. The appointment of the attorney is different for each state and depends on its legislation.
The document is pretty straightforward, but to know what to include and note include, we've written this guide.
What's in this guide?
- What is a general power of attorney?
- Download a power of attorney template now
- When should I use a general power of attorney?
- General power of attorney vs enduring power of attorney
- 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?
- Access customisable legal templates online
- How do I write a general power of attorney document?
- Where to get free legal documents and templates such as a general power of attorney
What is a general power of attorney?
A general power of attorney is a legal document that lets an individual (the donor) appoint another individual or individuals (the attorney) to make financial decisions on their behalf. The donor or the principal can select more than one attorney.
The document lets the attorneys make financial decisions on someone's behalf while they are going overseas or are otherwise unable to manage their own affairs.
The document is only valid for a specified period and needs to be acknowledged by a witness. Generally, an attorney is a trusted friend or family who is not financially dependent on the principal.
The general power of attorney is covered under Section 18 of Powers of Attorney act of 2000 (Tas).
Download a power of attorney template now
Download this template at Lawpath
When should I use a general power of attorney?
A general power of attorney is used when the principal wants to appoint an attorney and have them manage their financial decisions. These decisions include selling or renting of property, managing their bank accounts and handling other investments on behalf of the principal.
The principal can also use the document when they are going overseas and want to appoint someone to look after their property, bills, investments and other financial prospects.
The general power of attorney document is made by the donor and is only valid when they are of sound mind while the document was crafted and signed. Once the donor has lost the capacity to make their own decisions, they cannot appoint a new attorney, and any existing general power of attorney document is invalid.
General power of attorney vs enduring power of attorney
There are two major types of power of attorneys: general and enduring. The main differences between them are the period that they're valid and the extent of power given to the attorney. For both types, the principal must be capable of making decisions when signing the document.
A general power of attorney is limited to making financial decisions on behalf of the principal while the enduring power of attorney is used for making long-term plans.
The enduring power of attorney is a legal document where the principal or the donor appoints an attorney to make decisions on their behalf when they no longer have the capacity. These decisions are related to financial, personal and other health issues.
The principal often appoints an enduring power of attorney when they are reaching old age. This document is effective as soon as it is signed or after a specific occasion or time. This is mentioned in the document.
What does a general power of attorney document include and not include?
A general power of attorney document typically includes provisions specifying the extent of power given to the attorney.
- Personal details of the donor and the attorneys. Both parties must be 18 years old or older.
- If the donor appoints more than one attorney, they should also specify in the document how the decision-making powers will be decided.
- The date when the document comes into effect the period of its validity.
- Powers of the attorney and the extent of control they can excise over the principal's property and finances.
- Name and designation of the witness before whom the parties sign the paper. Finally, the witness marks the document.
- The document does not need to include any other personal details of the attorney or the witness aside from their names and designation.
How effective is a general power of attorney document?
Once signed by the principal, attorney and the witness, the document comes into effect. It is now a formal legal document that can be upheld in court in case of a dispute or other reasons.
A general power of attorney will not be effective in Tasmania if it's found the donor was not of sound mind when it was signed or other requirements were not followed.
Do I need a lawyer for a general power of attorney document?
A power of attorney is a simple document that may not require the services of a lawyer. However, as it can involve big financial decisions, especially in cases of land transactions, you might want to get the document checked by a lawyer. It may also a good idea to have a lawyer as a witness when the document involves buying or selling or assets.
Access customisable legal templates online
Does your company belong in this list?
How do I write a general power of attorney document?
The document needs to be written clearly and concisely and is usually written by the principal. The government of Tasmania advises its residents to download the form from its website to avoid any mistakes. However, if you are keen on writing the form, it should include the details of the powers that can be exercised by the attorney. It should also include the validity period of the document. For reference, see the templates as a guide.
Where to get free legal documents and templates such as a general power of attorney
Ask an Expert