We are often approached to prepare a power of attorney for someone whose family member faces illness, mental or physical incapacity, or an inability to manage their own affairs.
A power of attorney is a legal document that enables an individual (the principal), with full contractual capacity, to appoint someone else (the agent) to act on their behalf.
A power of attorney is a valuable tool in various situations. For example, an elderly parent who struggles to handle their affairs due to age may grant power of attorney to an adult child to assist them. However, it is important to note that a power of attorney is typically a temporary solution.
It is vital that a trustee is authorised by the Master before they exercise or undertake any trustee powers or duties. If this is not adhered to, these unauthorised acts are void and of no legal effect. This can place the trust, its beneficiaries and even the trustees themselves, depending on the circumstances, in a precarious position which could have financial or other adverse consequences.