Power of Attorney checklist:
Before completing the paperwork it is a good idea to consider the answers to the questions you will be asked.
1. Who will be your attorneys? This is something that will already have been considered, but who are your “backup” Attorneys if, for whatever reason, one or more of your nominated Attorneys can no longer act? You need to think carefully about your Attorneys, as it is a very responsible role and can be a lot of work. You can appoint a lawyer to be an Attorney, but be aware that they are entitled to charge for work carried out.
2. Are your Attorneys willing to act? This may seem like a silly question, but Attorneys have to be asked if they are prepared to take this responsibility on, and also have to sign the documents.
3. Do you want to make a Power of Attorney just for property financial issues (the more common one) or for Health and Welfare purposes? Or both?
4. How do you want your Attorneys to operate? The options are that ALL the Attorneys have to agree to a course of action (e.g. putting money in a particular investment or selling property), whether Attorneys can make decisions without the others agreeing, or whether SOME decisions can be made by just one Attorney and some with the consent of all the others. This last option is often the most popular; it allows for everyday decisions and transactions like paying bills to be carried out by just one Attorney, but bigger decisions such as selling property must be made with the agreement of all of the Attorneys.
5. Do you want different Attorneys to be responsible for different things?
6. Do you have any specific instructions? You may be happy for the Attorneys to do what they think is best, but is there anything that you want to be very clear about? This could include, in a Property and Personal Affairs Power of Attorney things such as stating that your favourite jewellery which you wish to leave to a relative must not be sold, or that your cat must always be provided for. In a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney this could be instructions that you would like treatment to be withheld in certain circumstances or that you wish to be treated at a specific way based on religious beliefs.