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What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

02 August 2022

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Kylie Bremner

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that enables you to appoint a trusted person (who will then be called your attorney) to make decisions on your behalf.  An attorney can make decisions for you about personal (including health) matters and/or for financial matters.  Financial matters relate to decisions about your financial or property affairs including: operating bank accounts; paying bills; and buying or selling property. Personal and health matters relate to personal or lifestyle decisions, including: where you live and who you live with; what doctors, specialists and support services you use; and legal matters that aren’t financial or property matters. (Powers for personal and health matters can only commence when you are unable to manage your own affairs.) Wouldn’t I just need that when I’m old? Probably the first thing most people think of in relation to using a power of attorney are circumstances where an elderly person starts to show signs of dementia and is no longer able to manage his or her own affairs.  An Enduring Power of Attorney can be useful for young and healthy people too, for example: Steven and Amara have finally secured a contract on their dream home in a tight market and settlement is due next week.  Amara’s contribution is tucked away in a high interest savings account in her sole name.  Amara travels to Melbourne on business and comes down with Covid while she is there.  As it was meant to be a short trip Amara did not take her password and account details with her.  Steven is able to use his power of attorney for Amara to transfer the funds in time for settlement to proceed. Dominic is involved in a serious work accident and placed in an induced coma for several weeks.  As Dominic’s attorney, his father manages Dominic’s bank accounts and ensures Dominic’s rent, car loan, telephone, electricity and other bills are paid while Dominic is in hospital. Can I limit how an attorney’s powers work? There is great flexibility in how you can appoint your attorney/s and their powers.  You may choose to appoint more than one attorney and specify they must all agree on a decision.  You may choose that an attorney’s power commences only in certain circumstances, such as when you are unable to manage your own affairs, or that their power is to only make specific decisions on your behalf. Ensure your wishes are clear We can help you set up your Enduring Power of Attorney so it suits you and your individual requirements. If you would like more information about setting up your Enduring Power of Attorney, please contact one of our team today.

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