Handing over your affairs

Monday 6 September 2004

People joke about "signing their life away" when they take out a mortgage.

By The Landlord

A more literal use of that phrase is when people give someone power of attorney.

Circumstances sometimes mean you are unable to look after your own financial affairs.

You might be temporarily out of the country, or on your big OE, or incapacitated or ill.

In these situations, you can give someone you trust the power to act on your behalf. It's not a step to be taken lightly, as the person or "attorney" gets to control your worldly possessions.

Some business people use power of attorney to allow a sole practice firm to be run by someone else while they are away.

Unbeknown to many, your spouse, partner or parent can't automatically step in and take care of things when insurance policies, bank accounts or possessions are in your name.

To step in legally, people have to hire a lawyer and go to court, which takes time and money.

There are two main powers of attorney - ordinary and enduring.

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