New Power of Attorney Laws in NSW

New Power of Attorney Laws in NSW

Amendments to powers of attorney laws came into effect in NSW in late 2013.

The new provisions allow for the appointment of one or more substitute attorneys to act during a vacancy. Vacancies of an attorney may arise if the appointment of an attorney is revoked, the attorney renounces the office, dies, becomes bankrupt, or becomes too ill to act.

The amendments to the laws also clarify the position regarding the continuation of a power of attorney where joint attorneys are appointed. Under the law, one or more attorneys may be appointed to act severally (where each attorney may make decisions independently of the other), jointly (where decisions must be made by the attorneys together), or jointly and severally (where decisions may be made by attorneys independently of each other or together).

Under the former provisions however, where one of the offices of joint attorneys became vacant, the effect was to terminate the powers of attorney for all other co-appointed attorneys. The new provisions allow for the continuation of the other attorneys power provided that it is stipulated in the power of attorney, and at least one of the other attorneys or the substitute attorney (if appointed) remains in office. Powers of attorney appointing two or more attorneys to act severally or jointly and severally are not affected where one of the offices becomes vacant.

It is important to note that the new provisions do not apply to powers of attorney created before the amendments – that is, any powers of attorney created prior to September 2013 will not benefit from the new powers of attorney laws.

If you would like a power of attorney to be drafted, or would like your existing power of attorney instrument reviewed, please contact Steiner Legal and we would be happy to assist.

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