An enduring power of attorney - sometimes called a lasting power of attorney - allows you to appoint someone to manage your financial affairs and to make decisions about your physical well-being and personal issues when you are no longer competent to do so. If you do not have a power of attorney and are not capable of managing your own affairs, a court order will be required. Your spouse or next of kin have no rights to make decisions for you under Israeli law.
In Israel, this power of attorney is prepared using an on-line template, currently only available in Hebrew, by a lawyer who has attended the required training. If the power of attorney is only for medical affairs, this can be drafted by a doctor.
You can appoint a single attorney or more than one, and you may also nominate a replacement attorney who will take over if your attorney can no longer act. There are various restrictions on who may act as an attorney, for example, they must be over 18, for a power of attorney in relation to your financial affairs, they must not be subject to a bankruptcy order or similar and they may not provide you with medical or rehabilitation care, geriatric nursing or other treatment for payment or with accommodation in return for payment, unless they are a family member.
Your Attorney's obligations to you
Your attorney is under an obligation to carry out their duties in the way that least restricts your rights and freedoms and which allows you to preserve your independence and utilise your capabilities, as far as you are able to do so. Your attorney must assist you, as far as possible, to make your own decisions and if you cannot do so, must make their decisions in line with what you would have wanted, in as far as this can be ascertained. The attorney is obliged to help you maintain your cultural and religious life and to preserve your relationships with family and friends.
Drafting the Enduring Power of Attorney
The power of attorney is prepared using an automated, on-line template which requires certain information from you and allows you to add additional directions and details, should you wish to do so.
Some points you may wish to consider in advance of an initial meeting on the power of attorney:
- When should it come into force? Who decides that you are no longer competent to manage your own affairs?
- Do you wish your attorney to give notification about certain decisions or actions to another person? Do you want information to be given to the Official Guardian's office?
- Do you wish to give any general instructions to your attorney about how they are to carry out their duties, for example, if you wish to remain in your own home for as long as possible, if your attorney should consult with other people before making decisions, if you have specific instructions about your financial affairs, etc. Please note that advance instructions under the Terminally Ill Patients' Law 2005 must be given in accordance with that law and not in the power of attorney. We suggest that you also complete the forms to give advance medical instructions under that law, which will apply if you are given a diagnosis that you only have six months to live, and we can discuss this in our initial meeting.
- Your attorney has general authority
to manage your affairs, subject to your wishes as expressed in the
power of attorney, but there are certain actions which require
specific authorisation, for example:
- To make donations, gifts or loans unless it is to a person or to an organisation named in the power of attorney and the amount is specified, up to a cumulative maximum amount of NIS 100,000.
- To carry out one or more transactions with a cumulative value of over NIS 100,000 and up to NIS 500,000.
- To make certain decisions regarding any pension products.
- To agree to psychiatric evaluations and treatment, to move you into a psychiatric unit and to release you from that unit.
You may also say that you allow your attorney to make these decisions even if at the relevant time you object. In order for the power of attorney to be valid for this purpose, you must receive an explanation about this process from a psychiatrist and the power of attorney must also be signed in front of the psychiatrist. In any event, if you do object, your attorney will not be able to agree to hospitalization of over 48 hours, or at all if you are considered to be competent to make that decision.
Once the power of attorney has been signed it will be deposited with the Official Guardian's office, both in digital and hard-copy form, and will remain on file there until it comes into force. You will be sent a reminder every three years that they have a power of attorney from you on file.
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.