Life can be uncertain; we never know what is just around the corner. No matter what age you are, you may lose your mental capacity through illness or in an accident and be unable to make decisions for yourself. In these circumstances, someone needs to step in to make important decisions for you.
Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) are legal documents in which you appoint who you would like to make decisions on your behalf. In this case, you are the Donor – the person giving the right to make decisions – and the person or people you appoint are the Attorneys (not to be mixed up with the legal kind).
There are two different EPAs: one that relates to property and one that relates to personal care and welfare.
An EPA for Property allows the Attorney(s) to deal with the donor’s property – for example, shares, land and money.
The form allows the Donor to be specific about any celebratory gifts they may want the Attorney(s) to make on their behalf and also gives the Donor the option to allow the Attorney(s) to make a new Will for them should it be necessary.
The donor may wish the EPA to take effect once signed and continue to apply if they become mentally incapable; or they might only want it to take effect in the event they become mentally incapable.
EPA: PERSONAL CARE AND WELFARE
This EPA allows an Attorney (only one Attorney may be appointed at any one time in respect of personal care and welfare) to make decisions about a Donor’s personal care and welfare if they become mentally incapable. This power is subject to various safeguards and extends to decisions on any medical treatment required and what hospital or residential care facility the Donor will attend.
Under this EPA, the Attorney’s power can be general or specific, depending on the Donor’s wishes.
Both documents allow the Donor to nominate individuals who the Attorney may consult with or provide information to before the Attorney makes a decision.
If you would like more information on Enduring Power of Attorney or are considering appointing an Attorney, please contact us to discuss.