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Should I have Enduring Powers of Attorney?

September 2015

Irrespective of age or marital status it is highly recommended you have Enduring Powers of Attorney.

For many, the last thing that you would want, in the event of your having a serious accident or health issue where you lost legal capacity (the ability to make and foresee the consequences of decisions) temporarily or otherwise, would be for no one to be able to effectively make decisions about your assets and your care. For “Baby Boomers”, particularly, Enduring Powers of Attorney are as important as your Will in the event that you were to lose capacity (even temporarily) following a major health incident.

At such times your family do not need the additional stress, considerable delay and significant expense of having to apply to the Court for determination of who is to make decisions on your behalf – not infrequently this is a source of unpleasant family disputes as to what should happen when a family member loses capacity. It can be extremely distressful for unwell or aged persons to watch, usually their children, squabbling.

These issues should be avoided by the completion of Enduring Powers of Attorney where you choose the person/s (or organisation) that you would want to make decisions on your behalf if you were unable to do so.
Enduring Powers of Attorney have been legislated to encourage considerable thought about the content. There are two forms of Enduring Powers of Attorney, being for Property and for Personal Care and Welfare respectively. They are intended to complement each other. In relation to Property we recommend two Attorneys, acting together as a protection for the Donor (the person giving the Enduring Power of Attorney), and each other. You can only appoint one Personal Care and Welfare Attorney. Both Powers of Attorney have provision of Successor Attorneys if an Attorney is unable to act which can be important where elderly spouses/partners appoint each other.

Enduring Powers of Attorney enable you to nominate to whom you would want information provided and whom your Attorney should consult, for example, your Doctor, Accountant or Lawyer.

Many people include in the Enduring Power of Attorney as to Care and Welfare “Living Will” or “Advanced Directive” clauses.

If you and/or any aged relatives or friends do not have Enduring Powers of Attorney, we (and the Minister for Senior Citizens) encourage you to start talking about and actioning these important documents.
See us as soon as possible.