Power of Attorney
What is Power of Attorney?
If you have concerns about a family member's Will or about actions taken by a person who has been appointed Power of Attorney, or if you have been appointed as the executor of a Will, Maurice Blackburn can help.
The financial exploitation of older and vulnerable Australians by enduring attorneys is a serious problem and one which our lawyers feel strongly about. We have a long and proud history of fighting for the rights of everyday Australians, and can provide you with expert legal assistance and the resources of a national firm.
Understanding Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney refers to a legal document in which the Principal (the person whose assets and financial affairs will be managed) appoints an individual or trustee organisation to manage their estate while they are alive. This may happen because the Principal is, for instance, travelling overseas and wants to give their attorney access to bank accounts to pay bills or manage finances. In other circumstances, the Principal may appoint a Power of Attorney if they become unwell and unable to manage their own affairs. This is known as Enduring Power of Attorney, because the authority it grants endures when the Principal has lost capacity.
Making a Power of Attorney does not mean that you lose control over your affairs. It simply gives your attorney formal authority to manage your affairs according to your instructions. Power of Attorney can be revoked at any time, provided the Principal has the capacity to do so.
If you are the Principal, the authority you grant your Power of Attorney ceases when you die, at which time the executor named in your Will becomes responsible for administering your estate.
If you have any concerns about an existing Power of Attorney, or wish to discuss creating either an Enduring Power of Attorney or Medical Power of Attorney, Maurice Blackburn can help you. We offer a 'no win, no fee'* cost agreement in most matters relating to Will Disputes. Contact our office today to talk to one of our expert lawyers.
Dealing with misappropriation of funds
If the person appointed as Attorney acts without the knowledge or consent of the person they were appointed by (the Principal), and takes or uses funds and assets to suit their own ends, the Principal has several options, including to:
- revoke the Enduring Power of Attorney
- ask the attorney to account for all dealings undertaken as attorney
- apply to suspend the Enduring Power of Attorney and request an audit of the accounts
- apply to a court or tribunal for an investigation if required
- seek to recover misappropriated funds and assets through the courts
- make a complaint to the police regarding any fraud that may have occurred.
Misappropriation of funds by attorneys is a growing trend, however protective laws exist in all states and territories to ensure attorneys can be held accountable.
Maurice Blackburn can assist you in revoking Powers of Attorney, and help you recover any misappropriated funds and assets. Contact us to speak with a power of attorney lawyer today.
All you need to know about Will disputes
Whether you are thinking of challenging or contesting a Will, or if you are the executor or beneficiary of a Will that is being challenged, our Will disputes lawyers can assist you.
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