Enduring Powers of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document whereby you give someone else the power to make decisions on your behalf. “Enduring” simply means the power continues even if you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself.
Why give someone this power?
There are two (2) reasons why you should give someone this power (normally your spouse, adult child or sibling). The first reason is convenience. You may be away from home or out of the country when important documents need to be signed (eg. the sale of a property, selling shares or other assets, buying a property etc.) If something needs to be signed your Attorney can do it for you. The second and more important reason is that you may suffer a serious illness or injury that affects your ability to make decisions for yourself about your financial and personal matters. For example, if you are involved in a car accident or suffer a severe stroke you may be left in a coma or unable to communicate. Who is going to handle your affairs whilst you recuperate? If you have appointed an Attorney they will be able to handle your affairs during this time, attend to paying your bills, rates, selling assets if necessary to help pay medical bills etc. Giving someone Enduring Power of Attorney means that your wishes will be carried out, even if you lose the capacity to make decisions yourself. Your Attorney will have the power to make decisions in your best interests and to sign all the necessary documents.
What if I don’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney?
If you don’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney then you won’t have a say in how your affairs will be handled. A representative from the Public Trustee will be appointed to act on your behalf in relation to all financial decisions and those decisions may not necessarily be in the best interest of your family.
How long does the power continue?
The power continues until your death or until you revoke it.
Should every person give a Power of Attorney?
Yes. Spouses should exchange Enduring Powers of Attorney with each other to prevent difficulties if one partner becomes seriously ill or incapacitated or is away from home for an extended period. If you don’t have a spouse, or life partner, a family member or trusted friend should be appointed. Knowing you have an Attorney capable of dealing with your affairs will give you peace of mind. Make an appointment now to for us to prepare your Enduring Power of Attorney.