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Your Responsibilities as a Financial Power of Attorney: What You Need to Know

By Reika Yoshikawa – Trainee Solicitor, Kingston Lawyers

An Enduring Power of Attorney document allows someone (called a “Principal”) to give legal authority to an “attorney” to make decisions on their behalf.

A Power of attorney is different from a Will.  

A Will applies after you die.

A Power of attorney is for when you are still living.

An attorney has the crucial task of making decisions on behalf of the principal regarding:

  • Financial matters such as paying bills, managing real estate transactions, and funds for the principal’s personal expenses.
  • Personal matters such as arranging various services, care and living arrangements.

Attorneys have important responsibilities, including:

  • Respecting the principal’s wishes to the largest extent possible
  • Encouraging the principal’s involvement in decision-making
  • Make decisions that promote the personal and social wellbeing of the principal
  • Recognising the principal’s existing relationships, religion, beliefs, culture, and privacy
  • Act honestly, diligently, in good faith and with due care
  • Maintaining accurate records of all transactions and activities.
  • Keeping the principal’s property separate from their own.
  • Avoiding using their position for personal profit.
  • Preventing conflicts of interest between their duties and personal affairs.

The Attorney is NOT allowed to:

  • Make medical decisions unless appointed as a medical decision-maker.
  • Vote on behalf of the principal.
  • Make decisions about the welfare of the principal’s children.
  • Create or revoke a will or power of attorney.
  • Manage the principal’s estate after their death.

In Victoria, some attorneys have gotten in trouble for mishandling funds or improperly recording transactions. Failing to fulfill their duties could lead to orders to compensate the principal. Misusing financial authority for personal benefit might even result in criminal charges. It is therefore crucial for attorneys to understand and comply with their duties and obligations.

Kingston Lawyers are experts in Powers of Attorney and can advise you on your rights and obligations, whether you are a principal or an attorney.

If you wish to appoint an attorney or understand your obligations as an appointed attorney, please call us on 9585 6455 or email us at any time at to book an initial consultation today.

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