Appointing a power of attorney, last will and advance care directive
When your circumstances change due to serious illness, particularly when you have received a diagnosis of a life-limiting illness, it’s an opportunity to reflect on where you are currently placed financially, who you trust to make decisions on your behalf and ensuring that you have contacted all relevant people and organisations about your situation for support.
After reviewing your finances and insurances, you could benefit from creating, reviewing, or appointing a Power of Attorney, Last Will and Advance Care Plan. It’s recommended that you seek advice from a Solicitor when setting up the following:
Power of Attorney (POA)
A POA is a legal document that appoints an individual or a trustee company with the permissions to manage your financial affairs and assets. POA operates whilst you are alive and you either want or need someone to make decisions on your behalf. Selecting the right person to be your POA could make the difference between having a clear understanding of your financial position or potentially being financially vulnerable.
General (Non-Enduring) Power of Attorney (GPOA)
A GPOA is a legal document that appoints an individual or a trustee company to manage your financial affairs and assets for you. A GPOA may be limited to a specific purpose, for a limited time or you wish to put into place a temporary arrangement. For example, you may be planning a trip overseas or will be away from home for an extended period and require a trusted representative to manage your financial affairs. GPOA is only used while you can still make your own decisions and ends once you lose capacity to make those decisions.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA)
An EPOA is a legal document in which you appoint another person or trustee company to make property and financial decisions for you and continues even when you have lost the ability to make decisions for yourself. Understanding that the EPOA will continue to operate when you have lost capacity, it is good to have informed your Attorney of your wishes while you are healthy and aware.
Supportive Power of Attorney (Victoria only)
A Supportive POA is a legal document authorising an individual to assist you to make and act on decisions about your financial affairs. A Supportive Attorney can access, obtain, or collect and communicate information on your behalf. You could also authorise the Supportive Attorney to perform activities which are reasonably necessary to implement your decision (not including significant financial transactions). Unlike a POA arrangement, a Supportive Attorney(s) cannot make decisions on your behalf.
Disclosure Authority Form (DAF)
A simpler form of the POA is to have a DAF. This form allows a trusted friend, relative or advisor to deal with claims and forms on your behalf. It limits what they can do and does not allow them to make changes, withdraw or sign on your behalf.
Informing Westpac once your Power of Attorney is set up
When you set up a Power of Attorney to manage your account(s), you and your Attorney(s) will need to come into a Westpac branch.
What to bring into the branch
It’s recommended you make an appointment to visit a Westpac branch to lodge your POA arrangement. Allow approximately 45 minutes for this appointment. Bring along the following information for us to set up the arrangement:
- The original, completed Power of Attorney document, or a certified copy of the Power of Attorney document by a lawyer or Justice of the Peace
- Identification documents such as a driver’s licence, Australian passport or other government photo identification, or other non-photographic identification
- Each of the Attorneys that you have appointed and whom you wish have access to manage your financial affairs (with their own photographic identification)
- In some circumstances, supporting evidence such as a medical report may need to be provided. For example, if the account holder has lost capacity.
Keep in mind that authorising others access to your finances can increase your exposure to the risk of financial abuse and fraud. For more information, including a support guide and how we can help you, see Protecting you from Financial Abuse.
Financial Management Order (FMO)
A Financial Management Order (also known as a Financial Administration Order) is a legal document which appoints one or several persons to be the Financial Manager/Financial Administrator to make financial decisions on behalf of another person (Protected/Represented Person). An FMO is made by a Court or Tribunal where an individual does not have a valid EPOA in place and no longer has legal capacity to make one. A Court or a Tribunal can appoint a family member or a friend as a Financial Administrator/manager to make decisions on your behalf, or they can appoint a public official from the State Trustee, if appropriate. An FMO may revoke an existing EPOA arrangement.
Informing Westpac of a Financial Management Order
When a Financial Manager wants to let Westpac know about the appointment to manage Protected Person’s account(s), they need to come into a Westpac branch.
What to bring into the branch
It’s recommended you make an appointment to visit a Westpac branch to lodge an FMO arrangement. Allow approximately 45 minutes for this appointment. Bring along the following information for us to set up the arrangement:
- The original, complete FMO documentation, or a certified copy of the FMO documentation by a lawyer or Justice of the Peace. Note: if the FMO was appointed in NSW and you have been provided with electronic FMO documentation, please bring the original email chain from the NSW Trustee including the Directions and Authorities.
- Identification documents such as a driver’s licence, Australian passport or other government photo identification, or other non-photographic identification for each Financial Manager.
Last Will, Health & Lifestyle Arrangements
Your Will documents the split of assets to your loved ones in the way that you would like. Your Will should be stored in a safe location and copies held by your Executor and Solicitor. It’s important to have an estate plan to help to ease the bereavement experience for your loved ones and make it simpler for them to enact your final wishes when the time comes. If you pass away, all POAs and FMOs automatically cease, and the Executor of your Will becomes responsible for carrying out your wishes.
Enduring Guardian (EG)
This is the formal appointment of a person to make health, lifestyle and medical decisions on your behalf when you are not able to do it yourself and only becomes effective for the time that you experience incapacity. The Enduring Guardianship does not permit the nominated person to make financial decisions for you.
Advance Care Plan
If you are aware that the prognosis is long term, complex or terminal, you might like to consider creating your advance care plan. This a guide that you create for your medical professionals and loved ones specifically stating what your wishes are in the event you cannot make or communicate decisions about your medical treatment. Your GP can help you to create an advanced care plan and this plan is best shared with your Enduring Guardian and Attorney, loved ones and treating specialists.
Please be aware that Power of Attorneys, Financial Management Orders, and other similar arrangements are different in each state and territory.
If you are unsure who to appoint as your Power of Attorney, Enduring Guardian or Executor of your Will, contact your State/Territory Public Trustee for further information and assistance.
Below are support services available that can help you understand and make decisions in relation to managing your financial affairs.
Power of Attorney
Once any changes to, or revocation of a Power of Attorney arrangement have been made, and the relevant parties have been notified, please contact your branch to make an appointment to bring the new or updated arrangement into the branch.
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Things you should know
This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
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