If there comes a time when you are unable to manage your own affairs, it may be too late to make your wishes clear. An Enduring Power of Attorney legally appoints the people who you wish to manage your financial and personal or health matters in case you are unable to do so in the future.
It gives you the power to choose who will make important decisions regarding your financial and personal future while you still have the capacity to do so.
How does an Enduring Power of Attorney work?
An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to give your attorney the power to make financial and personal or health decisions for you in the event that you lose capacity to make these decisions yourself.
It gives you the ability to do the following:
- Set out what actions your attorney/s can perform on your behalf, allowing you to plan for an unexpected physical or other injury.
- Nominate one or more attorneys and say when their power will begin.
- Give them the authority to make any decision that you could legally make yourself or limit their power to terms set by you.
A financial attorney is responsible for all financial matters including receiving income, paying bills, taxation, contractual issues, investments, legal actions and property management
A personal or health attorney may make decisions such as where you live, who you live with, as well as daily issues such as diet and dress and giving approval for you to receive healthcare.
What happens if I do not have an attorney to act for me?
Depending on your individual circumstances, not having a nominated Enduring Power of Attorney can result in far-reaching problems.
Some decisions can be made on an informal basis, however if formal authority is required or if disagreements between family members arise, an application may need to be made to the Guardianship and Administration Tribunal for the appointment of a Guardian or Administrator.
Who should I appoint as an attorney?
It is very important to choose people that you trust to act as an attorney for you, as decisions they make on your behalf are legally binding.
Any person chosen by you must be over the age of 18 years and not your paid carer or health care provider. A spouse or family member who receives a carers pension to assist with your care is not considered a paid carer.
Appointing an attorney for financial matters requires some thought as the person appointed will be entrusted to look after your financial security. This can be a demanding and time consuming role, and it is important to make sure the attorneys you appoint can manage your individual financial matters
Personal / Health Attorney
For personal and health care matters it is important to choose a close friend or family member who is aware of your personal and health needs and wishes. You may also wish to complete a document such as the Advance Health Directive to provide your attorneys and health care providers with evidence of your health care wishes. If you have questions about making or amending an Enduring Power of Attorney, contact the Estates team at Clifford Gouldson Lawyers.