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Powers of Attorney

It is a common misconception that an Enduring Power of Attorney is only for an elderly person. A Power of Attorney however, is something everyone should consider to prevent unintended consequences caused by unforseen accidents or illness.

Powers of Attorney fall into two categories:

  • General Powers of Attorney (GPOA); and 
  • Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPOA). 

General Powers of Attorney

A GPOA only allows you to appoint a person to make decisions on your behalf for financial matters and is only valid if you have mental capacity. 

Enduring Powers of Attorney 

An EPOA is similar to a GPOA however an EPOA:

  • Will continue even after you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself; and 
  • Permits your attorney to make both personal/health decisions and financial decisions on your behalf. 

Financial matters include matters relating to your finances or property. Examples include:

  • Withdrawing money from or depositing money into your accounts; 
  • Carrying on your business; 
  • Paying your debts. 

Essentially your attorney is able to do anything that you could lawfully do relating to financial matters.

Personal/health matters include matters relating to your care, health and/or welfare. Examples include:

  • Where you live; and
  • What medical treatment you do or do not receive.

There are some personal/health matters that your attorney is not permitted to make on your behalf.

Your attorney’s power to make personal/health decisions on your behalf only commences when you have lost the capacity to make these decisions yourself.

For financial matters however, you are able to decide when your attorney’s power to make financial decisions begins. For example, you may specify that your attorney can make financial decisions for you immediately, when you lose capacity or on a particular occasion (such as travelling overseas).

You may also include terms in the EPOA to restrict or enhance your attorney’s powers. 

If you appoint more than one attorney, you must specify how decisions are to be made. For example:

  • Unanimously; 
  • Any one of the attorneys may decide on their own; 
  • Successively (in a nominated order); or 
  • Majority rules. 

Contact us today to answer any questions you may have about Powers of Attorney.

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