I need to give someone else the legal right to sign documents on my behalf while I am overseas. What documents are required for this? Are there more than one type of power of attorney document and is that what I actually need?
There are 2 main types of power of attorney, (1) general and (2) enduring. The types of powers that you can give to another person differ from state to state.
If you are anticipating that you will only need someone to act on your behalf in relation to financial or property matters, a general power of attorney will probably suffice. It allows your attorney to make financial and legal decisions for you, for a specified period of time while you are overseas. A general power of attorney does not give an agent the power to make personal, medical or lifestyle decisions on your behalf. An agent's appointment will become invalid if you lose the capacity to make your own decisions, so the powers granted cease if you become mentally incapacitated.
What state are you located in?
And what matters do you require your attorney to deal with in your absence?
Relating to what you can authorise your attorney to do, it says this:
"You are able to give your attorney the power to make any decisions relating to your finances or property which you could do yourself. A Power of Attorney can be completely general in the powers and authority it gives or it can specify things such as paying certain kinds of bills or selling your house.
If you wish you can give your attorney the authority to give reasonably sized gifts, for example, to close friends or family on special occasions, or make donations to your favourite charities.
You can also authorise your attorney to meet the reasonable living and medical expenses of the attorney himself or herself or nominated other people. Your attorney should therefore be a person or organisation in whom you can place your trust."
The NSW Government “Planning Ahead Tools” page takes you through making a power of attorney, including a link to the NSW Land and Property Information Power of Attorney Forms that your can print and fill out and provides good information. Here’s an excerpt: A Power of Attorney only deals with property and financial matters, and your attorney can sign legally binding documents on your behalf. You may, for instance, be travelling overseas and want to give your attorney access to your bank accounts to pay your bills or manage your finances. ...
Making a Power of Attorney does not mean that you will lose control over your financial affairs. It simply gives your attorney formal authority to manage your financial affairs according to your instructions. Your Power of Attorney can be cancelled (revoked) at any time provided you have the capacity to do so.
It does not give someone the right to make decisions about your health, medical treatment or welfare. These decisions are covered by Enduring Guardianship.