You can decide when you would like your Attorney to start making decisions on your behalf. The options are:
- immediately: your Attorneys powers start straight away.
- on a certain date: your Attorneys powers start on the date that you specify.
- on a circumstance or occasion: your Attorneys powers start on the happening of the event that you specify. For example, you may wish to give a family member power of attorney when you go overseas. In this case, you could say "only whilst I am overseas in Italy and not in Australia."
- when I lose capacity: your Attorneys will only be able to act on your behalf if you are unable to make your own decisions.
Because a General Power of Attorney is automatically cancelled once your decision making ability becomes impaired, you cannot choose that the power begins 'Only when I lose capacity.' The last option should only be selected if you are making an Enduring Power of Attorney and you do not want your Attorney to act when you are able to make decisions for yourself.
A Power of Attorney must be signed by the Principal to be effective. A General Power of Attorney must be signed by the Principal, but it does not have to be accepted by an Attorney in order to be effective. An Enduring Power of Attorney must be signed by the Principal and accepted by the Attorneys before the power will begin.
If a person does not indicate when they would like a Power of Attorney to begin, then it will begin immediately once signed.