POWER OF ATTORNEY
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN POWERS OF ATTORNEY AND ENDURING POWERS OF ATTORNEY?
The simple answer is yes…
A Power of Attorney gives you the power to nominate a trusted person to act on your behalf, for example while you are out of the country. The power of attorney allows your trusted person to pay your accounts, deal with bank issues and sign important documents on your behalf. A Power of Attorney can be cancelled in writing at any time and are automatically cancelled if you pass away.
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) are an all together different kettle of fish. Usually EPA’s give a trusted person (your Attorney) the power to act for you if you lose the ability to make conscious decisions yourself. Without an EPA no-one else can deal with your property, financial matters, personal care and walfare – and this includes your partner or spouse and family members. An EPA prevents your loved ones having to file court proceedings to have someone appointed to represent you, at great cost emotionally and financially.
Enduring Powers of Attorney are set out on a standard form, but have many different options; such as appointing a successor attorney, allowing the attorney to make Wills on your behalf, which property an attorney is approved to act on and many other options. It is important you sit down with your lawyer to discuss all relevent options.
Enduring Power of Attorney – Property.
Property not only refers to your possesions, such as your house, chattels, vehicles but also your money.
You can nominate more than one attorney for property matters. You can then choose whether the power of attorney takes immediate effect or whether they can only act if a qualified health practitioner deems you unfit to make consious decisions yourself.
An Attorney for property can manage your bank accounts, pay your bills as well as buy and sell property on your behalf. Therefore, it is important your chosen Attorney is a person who will act in your best interests.
Enduring Power of Attorney – Personal Care and Welfare
The most personal of the two, an Enduring Power of Attorney – Personal Car and Welfare gives the person holding the Attorney the right to make decisions relating to your medical treatment, including rest home/hospice care and residency.
Your Attorney is appointed upon the assessment by a quailifed medical practitioner that you are incapable of making consious decisions yourself. Therefore, the person you appoint must be trusted and have you best interests in mind at all times.
In most instances independant legal advice is required in the signing of your EPA, this adds an additional cost; however it strengthens against any potential claim. However, married couples are exempt from this and can be seen within the same firm.