LEGAL ADVENTURES OF THE CLARKE FAMILY
Chapter 2 - Power of Attorney and Guardianship
Sarah’s friend Anika has been involved in a car accident and has sustained permanent brain damage.
Whilst she is lying in hospital Anika’s parents need to access her bank account for funds to pay for part of her considerable legal expenses. However they discover to their horror that it cannot be done as they have no legal document to deal with Anika’s account.
The situation worsens when Anika needs to be admitted to a home for brain affected patients and her parents cannot deal with the necessary administrative tasks as they do not have the power or authority to do so.
Sarah takes Anika’s parents to E Berman & Co to seek advice. The lawyer Annie looks sternly at the parents and delivers the devastating news:
“I am afraid there is nothing you can do without the proper documents.”
Horrified, her parents reply “But she is so young! Why would she think of having such documents at this age?”
Annie responds unforgivingly, stating “You never know when something like this can happen to anyone, which means you are never too young to prepare for such a situation.
Meanwhile, Sarah’s dad Jason is going overseas for an extended period of time on a business trip. He still wants his health club FITNESS 4U to operate as he doesn’t want to let down his currently attending customers, but he needs someone to oversee its operations and ensure the smooth running of the business.
He shares his current dilemma with his family over dinner one night, and says questioningly to his wife Jill “Can you look after the business for the next few weeks?” Jill responds to this with a troubled face, saying “I’ll be tied up most of time at work because we’ve been having so many people coming in recently…”
Hearing the exchange between Jason and Jill, Sarah pipes up and suggests “Maybe you could appoint an attorney to look after the club while you’re away?”
Intrigued, Jason contacts E Berman & Co to get more information on what is needed to appoint an attorney.
It would be too late to appoint someone as your attorney if there is a possibility you have lost the mental capacity to do so.
Appointing an attorney should be considered when making a Will. It is something that is overlooked very often and not thought about until it is too late.
A power of attorney is so powerful it can be used by your attorney to sell your house.
An enduring guardian is someone appointed by you to make personal or lifestyle decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity to make decisions in the future.
Q and A
Q: Am I also able to make financial decisions as the guardian?
A: No, a guardian is not authorised to make financial decisions on behalf of the person under guardianship.
Q: If I have dementia can I sign a power of attorney in favour of my son?
A: No, it is too late as you have already lost the mental capacity to do so
Q: I have an enduring guardianship that says both of my sons are to act jointly. Can either of them make decisions for me?
A: No, in order for either one of them to act they must be appointed jointly and separately.
How can E Berman & Co Solicitors help me?
E Berman & Co Solicitors is a Chatswood law firm that has been providing quality legal services to the public since 1984. Contact our office on 9412 2493 – we’re more than happy to have a quick chat! You can also visit us on our website for more information.
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