Nobody wants to think about the day when they are no longer able to make their own decisions. But if it were to happen, wouldn’t you prefer those decisions to be made by the person you think would act in your best interests?
A common misconception is that your spouse, partner or children can act on your behalf and make decisions for you when you are unable. But, unfortunately, this in incorrect and without enduring powers of attorney documents in place, an expensive and time-consuming court order will be required.
Another common misconception is that only the elderly need enduring powers of attorney, when in fact everyone should have enduring powers of attorney in place. An accident or illness could strike at anytime and if a power of attorney is not in place before this happens, your family will be unable to access your assets or bank accounts, pay bills or make decisions about your health care and where you will live.
Don’t leave it to chance or until it is too late, contact us today to discuss.
However, if your parent or a loved one becomes mentally incapacitated through illness or injury and they do not have enduring powers of attorney in place, we can assist by preparing an application to the Court for you to be appointed as a welfare guardian and/or property manager.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are Enduring Powers of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint a person to take care of your affairs. They differ from an ordinary power of attorney in that the power ‘endures’ (continues) even if the person who has given the power loses mental capacity. Whereas, an ordinary power of attorney automatically terminates if the donor (person who has given the authority) is declared to be ‘mentally incapable’.
There are two types of EPAs; one in respect of Property (assets), and one in respect of Personal Care and Welfare (living and care arrangements).
Why do I need Enduring Powers of Attorney?
If you become incapacitated and you do not have enduring powers of attorney (EPAs), the only way decisions can be made about your property or personal welfare is by applying to the Family Court under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act. This is costly and time consuming, and there is no guarantee that the Court decision will be what you would have wanted.
Can’t someone’s spouse/partner or children just act for them, rather than setting up Enduring Powers of Attorney?
No. They need the legal backing of enduring powers of attorney (EPAs). They can, of course, name their husband/wife, partner or children as their attorney, but this must be done through an EPA. If something happens to a person and they do not have an EPA, their family – including their spouse/partner or children – would have to go to court to obtain the authority to act on their behalf.
I have a Will, do I also need Enduring Powers of Attorney?
Yes, as they apply to very different situations. A will only takes effect when a person dies. Enduring powers of attorney (EPAs) are effective while you are still alive but may have become mentally incapable. On your death, your EPAs automatically terminate, and anyone you have appointed no longer has authority to act. At such time your will comes into effect and the person (or people) appointed as your executor(s) under your will obtain authority to act on your behalf. Accordingly, your attorney(s) under your EPA and your executor(s) under your will (if they are different people), never have authority at the same time.
Who should have Enduring Powers of Attorney?
Every adult should have enduring powers of attorney (EPAs). Anyone, at any time, can lose the ability to make decisions, so it’s important for everyone to think about getting EPAs. A good time for people to get one is when they are making or updating their will.
Suzie clearly delivered to myself and others a focused and friendly approach to all the issues presented to her. We had some older family member matters to resolve; Wills, Trust issues, License to Occupy, etc.. Suzie provided exceptional service, concise and sound advice which we accepted and followed through in the execution of the required legal documents. Suzie is professional, focused and pragmatic in providing intelligent legal solutions and recommendations.
Our family has used Rosie for everything from wills and family trusts to house purchases and sales. I can absolutely recommend her, she is easy to deal with, communicates well, makes things simple and to top it off is a lovely person to work with.
“Rosie helped us with our wills and powers of attorney and she made it such an easy process for us. She gave us a lot of advice and explained different ways we could do it, all along with a friendly professionalism. I cannot recommend her enough and will definitely be using her services in the future.”