We know that making a legal Power of Attorney document means being prepared for a situation where we are no longer to make decisions for ourselves. In this guide we'll cover what you need to know about ending the responsibilities you've assigned through your Power of Attorney.
When does your Power of Attorney end?
A Power of Attorney will no longer be able to make decision for you if:
- They die or no longer have the capacity themselves to make decisions for you
- They were an attorney for financial matters and have been found guilty of an offence for dishonesty.
- They go bankrupt
A Power of Attorney can also end if they choose to resign. However they are only able to resign if:
- You, as the principal, still have capacity to make decisions for yourself
- There is another person who can take over the role of attorney
- The attorney wishing to resign applies to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) or the Supreme Court for permission to resign.
If you have a General POA, you can also specify when and in what circumstances it will operate. For example, you might state that it expires upon the sale of a particular property, when you return from an overseas trip or simply on a specific date. This is possible because you still have capacity to make decisions for yourself.
What happens to your POA after death?
A power of attorney ceases immediately upon death of the principal (the person who appointed the POA). It must be noted that a POA is only valid and used while the principal is alive. It would be illegal for a POA to continue to access your accounts and assets after your death without correct authorisation.
Even if expressly stated in the appointment of a POA, a POA cannot extend after death.
It is important for a Will not to be confused with a POA. A POA ceases upon death. At that point, a Will comes into effect and appoints an executor who will coordinate the distribution of assets.
What happens to my bank accounts that were previously managed by my POA after my death?
The banks will freeze the principal’s bank accounts as soon as they are aware of the death. This will prevent your attorney accessing your accounts after your death. However, if the bank account was jointly held, it will automatically transfer to the surviving owner.
A POA can end if your attorney chooses to resign, but only in certain circumstances. Alternatively, a POA ends immediately after the death of the principal. Your accounts and assets will then be distributed by your Executor, in accordance with your Will. The most important thing to remember is that your POA is only valid whilst you are alive and unable to make decisions for yourself.
Start writing your Powers of Attorney today at willed.com.au