A general power of attorney is used to provide authority to another person to act on your behalf with regard to land and financial transactions. When the “donor” of this authority loses capacity to make decisions, the power given to the “attorney” ceases.
However, an enduring power of attorney continues to operate beyond this stage and terminates upon the death of the donor. There are safeguards in legislation in the form of additional duties for attorneys appointed pursuant to an enduring power of attorney.
In most jurisdictions, including South Australia, legislation gives courts or tribunals the power to order attorneys, generally those acting under an enduring power, to produce accounts to the court or tribunal (and other interested persons), to have those accounts audited, and to furnish an audit report. The rationale for these safeguards is obvious – to protect the weak and vulnerable from exploitations.
In South Australia, it is an offence for an attorney to fail to keep and preserve accurate records and accounts of all dealings and transactions made in pursuance of the power given to them pursuant to an enduring power of attorney. The attorney in such cases is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty.
If you are an attorney of an enduring power of attorney it is your duty to keep clear and accurate information and records about your use of the authority.
Call us on 8523 8400 (Gawler) or 8211 6500 (Adelaide) to arrange an appointment for an initial no obligation consultation if you have any questions about powers of attorney. Alternatively, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you.