Enduring Power of Attorney: As important to your financial plans as your will.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that outlines who you would like to manage your affairs; such as when you no longer have capacity to do so.
An Attorney is the person you nominate to manage your affairs. You can have more than one Attorney. Attorney/s can be appointed to manage your financial matters and/or your personal and health matters.
You may give your attorney power to make decisions about personal/health matters and financial matters.
Examples of personal/health matters are decisions about where and with whom you live, whether you work or undertake education or training, whether you apply for a licence or permit, day-to-day issues like diet and dress, and whether to consent, refuse to consent or withdraw consent to particular types of health care for you (such as an operation).
An example of a financial matter is deciding how your income should be invested, buying and selling real estate, shares and other assets, operating your bank accounts and spending money on your behalf.
An Attorney is personally accountable for their actions. If your Attorney mismanages your affairs whether deliberately or by negligence; they can be held liable for their actions. This can include facing court proceedings to recover money and even criminal charges.
With personal/health matters, your attorney’s power to make decisions does not begin until (if ever) you are incapable of understanding the nature and foreseeing the effects of a decision, and of communicating that decision.
With financial matters, you may nominate when your attorney’s power is to begin. If you do not name a date or an occasion, it begins immediately. On the other hand, if you lose the capacity to make such decisions before the date or occasion you name, the power begins at that point. Even if you give your attorney power immediately, you may also continue to make decisions yourself while you are able to do so.
Depending on your circumstances, the problems could be far-reaching if you lose capacity without appointing an attorney. There is a possibility that your affairs may be handled by a government department, for a fee.
In some circumstances financial matters may be dealt with on an informal basis. However if you do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney and formal authority is needed for a transaction, or if disagreements between family members arise, the Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal (QCAT) decides the appointment of an administrator. This can be a lengthy and frustrating experience at a time when stress levels are very high. By making an Enduring Power of Attorney you choose the trusted person to administer your financial, personal and health affairs for you