An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document which allows you to appoint a trusted person or persons to make decisions about financial, property and personal matters on your behalf.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is the only way to ensure that you have control over who will make decisions on your behalf if you are ever unable to do so, such as in the following situations:
- whilst you are overseas on holiday;
- whilst you are ill or in hospital;
- if you temporarily or permanently lose the capacity to make decisions, such as through dementia or as a result of being in an accident.
If you do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney you risk having your financial, property and financial interests handled by someone who may not fully understand your needs and wishes.
Who can make an Enduring Power of Attorney?
Any adult can make an Enduring Power of Attorney provided they have capacity. Before signing an Enduring Power of Attorney you must demonstrate that you understand:
- the powers you are giving to your attorney;
- when the attorney can exercise these powers;
- that you can revoke these powers whilst you have capacity; and
- that the power will continue to operate if you lose the ability to make legal and financial decisions.
What powers can I give my attorney and when does it start?
You can control the powers you give to the attorney by placing limits or conditions on their powers in the Enduring Power of Attorney. For example, you can give the attorney authority to pay bills but not to sell property.
You can also specify when you would like your Enduring Power of Attorney to commence. For example, you may want it to start at some future date or when the attorney accepts their appointment. Once the attorney’s powers commence, your attorney’s decisions have the same legal force as if you had made them yourself.
What are the duties and responsibilities of my attorney?
An attorney is in an important position of trust. The attorney must:
- wherever possible, make the same decision that you would have made;
- act according to any limits or conditions placed on their authority;
- keep accurate and proper records of their dealings and transactions with your finances or property;
- avoid situations where there is a conflict of interest; and
- keep your property and money separate from their own.
If you require advice or assistance in relation to an Enduring Power of Attorney please contact our office.