An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) appoints an attorney to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated due to accident, illness or old age.
‘Incapacitation’ simply describes an inability to sign documents or make decisions about your property or personal care.
Having an Enduring Power of Attorney is just as important as having a Will. As with a Will, it is important that you seek professional assistance in preparing your EPA, and it will need to be properly signed and witnessed to be binding.
There are two types of Enduring Power of Attorney, both are important and a different Attorney can be named for each. The two types cover the following:
- In relation to property: a property Attorney can make decisions and act on your behalf with regard to your assets and investments.
- In relation to personal care and welfare decisions: a personal care and welfare Attorney can make decisions about your well-being eg medical treatment.
Who can be an Attorney?
Anyone who is not a bankrupt, is of sound mind and over the age of 20 can be nominated as an Attorney. Choosing an Attorney is an important decision! Your Attorney may have to make important decisions and you need to have the confidence that your appointed attorney will make the right ones.
You do not have to give your Attorney full power over your affairs. You can set restrictions or conditions on the decisions to be made, for example:
- What property the Attorney can deal with
- When the power comes into effect ie immediately or only at the time of incapacitation
- Specific wishes eg do not want to be on life support/do not sell XYZ shares
How does this differ from an Ordinary Power of Attorney?
The key difference is that an Ordinary Power of Attorney is automatically revoked on the incapacitation of the person who granted it.
As the name suggests, an Enduring Power of Attorney endures in the event of a person losing their capacity.