An enduring power of attorney is a very useful document to
include in your legal armoury. An enduring power of attorney gives
legal authority to your appointed attorney to deal with your assets
and/or make personal care and welfare decisions in the event that
you are not able to do this for yourself (whether temporarily or
permanently). Incapacity can occur as a result of an accident
or by natural deterioration of the mind, and is assessed by a
specialist who performs these assessments in the usual scope of
Actions performed by your appointed attorney have the same legal
effect as if you had personally performed them yourself provided
the attorney's actions are:
Authorised by your appointment;
Are in accordance with law governing their actions; and
The appointment had not been revoked and notified to the
attorney at the time of the actions.
If you are assessed as being incapable of looking after your own
property and/or personal care and welfare matters and you have not
appointed an attorney to act on your behalf, the only option is for
an application to be made to the court for the appointment of a
property manager and/or welfare guardian. This is an expensive and
very stressful process for you and your family, and the appointment
is usually limited to a period of three years, at which stage a new
application must be made.
Enduring powers of attorney aren't just for "old"
people. Recently we have had two cases of people in their thirties
who have been incapacitated by stroke. Neither of them had
nominated attorneys. The families of both now have to use the Court
process before anyone can make decisions for them in relation to
their welfare or their assets and liabilities.
Enduring powers of attorney can save a lot of time, expense and
stress at a time when you and your family do not want to be engaged
in a legal process.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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