What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows a nominated person to make decisions on your behalf when you no longer have capacity to make those decisions.
Capacity refers to having the ability to understand the significance of the action or decision you are making – for example, you may lose capacity if you were to suffer a serious illness, injury or disability and become unable to make decisions on your own. This may occur if you were to suffer a stroke and become unable to communicate, or if you were to develop dementia.
An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to nominate a trusted person or persons to make decisions that relate to your property, legal and financial affairs – these may include buying and selling property, signing legal documents and paying bills.
You have the ability to limit your attorney’s powers to certain circumstances – for example, you may wish for your attorney to only deal with your real property, or you may require them to consult with your family members before making a decision.
Who should I appoint as my Attorney?
It is very important that your nominated attorney is an adult person that you trust to manage your affairs responsibly.
It is possible for you to appoint multiple attorneys to manage your affairs, and you have the ability to decide how each attorney will work together. For example, your attorneys may be appointed:
- jointly – your attorneys must act together when making decisions;
- severally – your attorneys may make decisions individually without consulting the other attorneys; or
- jointly and severally – your attorneys may make decisions together or independently.
It is often beneficial to also appoint a substitute attorney who will be able to take over the management of your affairs in the event that your nominated attorney is unwilling or unable to fulfil their role.
Why should I have an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney is an extremely important document, as it allows for your financial affairs to be managed by a trusted person in the event that you lose capacity.
Having an Enduring Power of Attorney in place allows you to have the peace of mind of knowing that your affairs will be dealt with by someone you trust and that decisions will be made in a way that you would like them to be made.
Preparing an Enduring Power of Attorney
We can assist you with preparing an enduring power of attorney as part of your estate planning.
If you have any questions or require any other information in relation to an enduring power of attorney, please do not hesitate to contact our office on (02) 9687 3755.