Legal jargon has a tendency to be quite literal, and a power of attorney (aka a POA) is a prime example of that. See, powers of attorney are legal documents that give you the power to choose the person or people who will make future financial and personal decisions on your behalf, in the case that you are unable to make them yourself.
These documents are pretty important (if we may say so ourselves)… and failure to nominate an appropriate power of attorney could hypothetically lead to some pretty tricky territory for your family and close friends down the line.
In this guide, we’ll first get into the nitty-gritty of the humble POA, before jumping back into the big question – ‘Where should I store my power of attorney documents?!’
Firstly, why do I need to nominate a power of attorney?
In the event of an accident or an illness, you may not be able to, for example, maintain a home, organise your own medical needs or manage your finances. Failing to nominate an attorney could lead to some pretty dicey situations, like:
- You may not be able to choose who will make decisions on your behalf and the person given that task might not have a similar view to you on what’s best for you
- The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) may need to appoint an administrator or a guardian to assist you.
Now that you’re across the risks of not naming a power of attorney, let’s talk about secure locations and tips for storing your legal docs.
Tips for storing your Power of Attorney documents
Consider giving certified copies of the original document to the person or people you have nominated. This way, they will have it when the time comes.
Consider a safe
If you’re more comfortable storing your power of attorney documents at home, then you could consider purchasing a fireproof and waterproof safe, or a metal box. So, in the event that any potential damage occurs (ie. a flood or fire), it is less likely to be destroyed. (Plus, the (literal) safe option means that no one will have access to it except for you… and whoever has the code).
Give your Executor access to the document and the location
You could send a copy to your chosen Executor, as well. To avoid potential loss or damage, just remember to ask if your Executor has access to a secure place to store the document. Suppose the document has sensitive information, or you’d like it to remain private up until your passing. In that case, you can hand it to your Executor in a sealed envelope with clear instructions to only open it upon your passing. Mysterious? Yes. Common? Also yes.
Store it at home, in a secure place
Alternatively, you could store your power of attorney documents in your home. We’d recommend that you find a private and secure area, like a filing cabinet in a home office. However, once you’ve picked a spot, it’s important to leave your Executor clear instructions regarding the location, so they will have access to the location and the documents after your death.
Learning all about power of attorney? Well, that was the hard part. Now, you can write a Power of Attorney online in 15 minutes flat, and get peace of mind for you and the people you love.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice.