WHAT IS AN ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY?

While most people are aware of the benefits of making a Will, fewer people understand the benefits of having an Enduring Power of Attorney.

This document allows you to appoint someone to:

  • ACT ON YOUR BEHALF TO PROTECT YOUR INTERESTS;
  • look after your assets; and
  • make financial decisions on your behalf; and
  • have the authority to deal with health funds, superannuation funds banks, centrelink etc. should you become physically or mentally incapable.

Because you need to be ‘of sound mind’ when you sign the authority, it is important to have the documentation completed before any mental deterioration takes place.
Unfortunately, mental deterioration can occur over an extended period; it makes sense to set an Enduring Power of Attorney in place at the same time you have your Will prepared.

You can choose sole or joint attorneys. A popular method is to appoint your spouse or partner then two other family members as substitute attorneys (TO ACT JOINTLY) if your partner dies before you or becomes incapacitated.
Your attorney is required to become responsible for your financial wellbeing and act on your behalf to protect your interests.

When we prepare your Enduring Power of Attorney you can decide whether you want the document to take effect immediately – or at a later date should you lose your decision-making capacity.

CASE 1:
Michael and Nola have been married for 40 years.  They still felt young and vibrant and anticipated years of travel together.  Nola, unfortunately, suffered a massive stroke and after months of rehabilitation, the doctors discussed whether Michael would be able to manage to look after Nola at home.  Michael and Nola knew their house wasn’t suitable for them to live in now that they required wider doors, no stairs, and handrails.

Years ago Michael and Nola had discussed what to do if one or the other became ill.  They realised that they would need to make an Enduring Power of Attorney so one of them could access the bank account, deal with the superannuation and insurance companies, shares, etc. on the others behalf.  They had registered their Enduring Powers of Attorney with Landgate and that allowed Michael to sell their house and buy another home where he and Nola would have plenty of room to manoeuvre and also a manageable garden.  Thus being able to have everything ready for the next part of their life together.

As Nola’s carer and attorney of the Enduring Power of Attorney.  He had been able to make big decisions which were of benefit to them both.  Nola has now made a remarkable recovery, and they enjoy their comfortable lifestyle and are planning a cruise shortly.

CASE 2.
Lydia is a widow was getting wobbly on her feet.  Her daughter Melissa noticed that mum wasn’t quite as strong as she used to be and so organised to come and see us to have an Enduring Power of Attorney prepared.  Lydia had good mental capacity, but the thought of being able to manage her affairs in the future as she became less mobile worried her.

Lydia and Melissa made an appointment with Guardian Wills and Probate to have her Will reviewed and a new Enduring Power of Attorney drawn up.  They then lodged their Enduring Power of Attorney document at Landgate.  This meant that in the future, should Lydia need to move into a retirement village, Melissa could organise the selling of her house on her behalf.

The worry was lifted.  Lydia now had the knowledge that all her documents were in place.  She had prepared and signed her Will, an Enduring Power of Attorney, an Enduring Power of Guardianship and a Living Will. Lydia could now relax.  She knew her family would be taken care of in her Will, and that with the necessary paperwork completed her family could assist her with banking, queries to various business institutions and retirement villages and Centrelink should the need arise.