Enduring Powers of Attorney

What is an enduring power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal power given to another person to make decisions on your behalf.

When you give an ‘enduring’ power of attorney, this means the power will continue even if you are no longer able to make decisions yourself.

Why should you consider giving someone an enduring power of attorney?

Throughout your life, situations can arise where you are no longer capable of making decisions about important matters which affect you. These circumstances can be anticipated and unexceptional, like taking an overseas holiday, but they can also be sudden and unforseen, such as serious illness or injury.  In these situations, it is important that there is someone else who is able to make decisions on your behalf.

What kinds of decisions does this power involve?

You have the option of giving your attorney the power to make decisions about (i) personal and health matters or (ii) financial matters, or both. 

Personal and health matters may include decisions about:

·         Your place of residence

·         The people you live with

·         Your work, education and training

·         What you eat and wear

·         Medical procedures

Financial matters may include decisions about:

·         Investment strategies

·         Payment of debts

·         Your budget

In the case of financial matters, you also have the option of giving your attorney decision making power with respect to a limited range of matters.

Who should you appoint as your attorney?

It is important that you appoint someone that you trust to be your attorney. This is often a spouse or child, but some people prefer to appoint a family member or friend, a trustee company, the Adult Guardian or the Public Trustee.

It is also possible to appoint more than one attorney. You may appoint two or more attorneys to act ‘jointly’ (i.e. together), as a ‘majority’, ‘severally’ (i.e. any one of your attorneys can sign) or ‘successively’ (power is given to one attorney and when this power ends or the attorney is no longer willing or able to act, the power is given to another attorney).