Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) appoints an attorney to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated due an accident, illness or old age.
'Incapacitation' simply describes an inability to sign documents or make decisions about property or personal care.
Having an enduring power of attorney is just as important as having a Will. As with a Will, it is important that you seek professional assistance in preparing your EPA, and it will need to be properly signed and witnessed to be binding.
There are two types of EPA and both are important. A different Attorney can be named for each:
In relation to property: A property Attorney can make decisions and act on your behalf with regard to your assets and investments
In relation to personal care and welfare decisions: A personal care and welfare attorney can make decisions about your well-being eg medical treatment
Who can be an Attorney?
Anyone who is not bankrupt, is of sound mind and over the age of 20 can be nominated as an Attorney. Choosing an Attorney is an important decision! You need to have the confidence that your appointed attorney will make the right decisions for you.
You do not need to give them full power over your affairs. You can set restrictions or conditions on the decisions o be made, for example:
What property the Attorney can deal with
When the power comes into effect ie immediately or only at the time of incapacitation
Specific wishes eg do not want to be on life support/do not sell shares
How does this differ from an Ordinary Power of Attorney?
The key difference is that an Ordinary POA is automatically revoked on the incapacitation of the person who granted it.
As the name suggests, an Enduring Power of Attorney endures in the event of a person losing their capacity.