Monday, March 7, 2011

Witnessing powers of attorney

Following last week’s post, I had a number of people raise concerns about the witnessing requirements for powers of attorney.

Unfortunately, this is yet another example of inconsistencies between each Australian state.

Certainly, in each state, legal practitioners are authorised witnesses for most forms of powers of attorney.

Having this said, documents that are directly related to medical issues can normally only be witnessed by a medical practitioner.

In some states, the financial related power of attorney documents can be witnessed by a relevantly large range of authorised signatories.

Ultimately, as I recommended to the advisers who contacted me, the safest pathway is to carefully read the relevant documentation to ensure all witnessing provisions are complied with. While there are numerous inconsistencies between the various states, each state does at least set out in some detail the witnessing requirement for each document as part of the standard government form.

Until next week.