An enduring power of attorney (EPOA) allows you to designate someone to take care of your financial and / or personal affairs (including health care). It is important to appoint someone you trust as your attorney in the event you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself.
If you do not have an enduring power of attorney, the Guardianship and Administration Court or Civil and Administrative Tribunal (depending on the state you live in) may appoint someone to act on your behalf, such as the Public Trustee, another Trust Company, a family member, or a friend.
Make an EPOA to choose who will act on your behalf if you lose the ability to make your own decisions. You should seek professional advice on your choice of attorney and the scope of the powers to be granted, based on your personal circumstances .
Why make an Enduring Power of Attorney?
Anyone over the age of 18 and with full legal capacity can make an enduring power of attorney. In our view, anyone over the age of 18 who has full legal capacity should have an EPOA in place.
Why make a General Power of Attorney
If you are overseas or simply do not wish to be burdened with the day-to-day management of your financial affairs, a general power of attorney allows your lawyer or someone else you trust to manage your financial affairs according to your wishes when you are unable or do not want to act personally. It is important to note: once you have lost your legal capacity (i. If you are in a coma following an accident), you cannot make a general power of attorney until you regain your legal capacity.
What happens if you don’t have an enduring power of attorney?
If you do not have an EPOA when you no longer have capacity and decisions need to be made for you, a Court or Tribunal may appoint an administrator for your financial decisions or a guardian for your personal / health decisions. In Queensland this is the Queensland Civil and Administrative Court (QCAT).
The person or organization appointed as your attorney is not necessarily the person you would have chosen if you had legal capacity. By making an enduring power of attorney, you ensure that the person of your choice manages your finances or makes personal decisions on your behalf. By making a EPOA you can avoid the stress, conflict and anguish that might otherwise be involved if your family or friends are required to seek an order from the Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Remember, an enduring power of attorney is one of the most important documents that you will sign during your lifetime. We strongly recommend that you seek legal advice when drafting a Power of Attorney to ensure that the conditions for appointing your attorney are appropriate for you.