Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs), Enduring Powers of
Guardianship (EPGs) and Advanced Health Directives (AHDs) allow you
to have control over your financial and personal affairs in
circumstances where you would not otherwise have control. These
documents are becoming increasingly popular and important in
managing the affairs of our aging population; and are also
important for adults of all ages, however, many people do not
understand the difference and interaction between them.
Under a properly executed EPA you appoint a person or persons to
make financial and property decisions on your behalf. You can
appoint up to two attorneys and two substitute attorneys. If you
appoint more than one attorney you must choose whether those
attorneys must act together (jointly) or if the decision of one
attorney is sufficient (severally). Your EPA may grant attorneys
the power to make decisions immediately upon you signing the EPA or
alternatively only upon the State Administrative Tribunal declaring
you have lost capacity to make your own decisions.
Your attorney's powers can include paying your bills,
accessing your bank accounts and buying, selling and mortgaging
Under a properly executed EPG you appoint someone to make
personal, lifestyle and medical treatment decisions for you. You
can appoint any number of guardians and any number of substitute
guardians. Guardians must always act jointly which means their
decisions must be unanimous. An EPG only takes effect in
circumstances where you are incapable of making your own
Your guardian's powers can include making medical treatment
decisions and choosing an appropriate care facility where you are
unable to make these decisions for yourself.
When acting under an EPA or EPG, your attorneys and guardians
must always act in your best interests.
An AHD (commonly referred to as a "living will") is a
written description of what medical treatment you want or do not
want to receive in certain circumstances. Your AHD only takes
effect upon loss of capacity and overrides the decisions of any
appointed guardian under an EPG.
There are specific rules around the preparation and signing of
EPAs, EPGs and AHDs and as such they should be prepared and
witnessed by a suitably qualified professional.
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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