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Published: 02 April 2020
Author: Rosalba Martino

Powers of Attorney: Essential documents during the COVID-19 emergency

As our society increasingly moves toward lockdown, COVID-19 poses real challenges for people who are responsible for the legal and medical care of their loved ones.

During these times of uncertainty, it is important to review the arrangements you have in place for legal and financial decision making.

In this blog, I explain what types of changes you might need to make to various Powers of Attorney in order to best respond to the challenge of COVID-19.

New restrictions

As of midnight 31 March 2020, those over the age of 70 years are required to stay at home and self-isolate, those with underlying medical conditions are recommended to voluntarily isolate and those returning from overseas travel will be under mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

"If you do not already have Powers of Attorney in place, it is critical that you now consider putting them in place for both your medical and financial matters."

For those who are required to self-isolate, whether because of age or because they are in a high-risk category, it is important to review the appropriateness of your current Power of Attorney documents. If you do not already have Powers of Attorney in place, it is critical that you now consider putting them in place for both your medical and financial matters.

Where Power of Attorney documents are already in place, such as Enduring Powers of Attorney that take effect upon your incapacity, it may be time to consider putting in place new arrangements such as an Enduring Power of Attorney which takes immediate effect, or alternatively, a General Non-Enduring Power of Attorney limited to a specific time period.

A General Non-Enduring Power of Attorney for a limited duration can be implemented without revoking any arrangements and documents already in place.

The General Non-Enduring Power of Attorney will enable an Attorney of a person in self-isolation or forced quarantine to effectively manage their legal and financial affairs throughout this COVID-19 emergency.

If you wish to discuss putting in place appropriate Power of Attorney arrangements please contact the RCT Wills & Estates team on 1300 366 441 who are ready to answer your queries and provide assistance.

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