What is a Power of Attorney?
There are two types - general Powers of Attorney (POAs) and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs).
The main difference between the two types is that EPAs can continue to be used and are still effective even after the donor (that is, the person who is giving the Power of Attorney) has become mentally incapable of acting himself or herself. This is not the case for general POAs.
Let's look specifically at EPAs. What are they then? They are a legal document that provides for the appointment of an attorney or attorneys with certain specified powers who can, when required, act for and on your behalf.
EPAs are important documents, especially for the elderly.
Why have an EPA?
Stop and think for a moment – what would happen if you lost mental capacity for any reason, and were no longer able to act or make decisions for yourself?
If you have an EPA in place then your appointed Attorney/s can do things for you while you are incapacitated. The attorney can look after all of your property affairs, as well as make important decisions relating to your personal care and welfare, when you are unable to do these things yourself.
If you do not have an EPA in place then an application would need to be made to the Family Court for someone to be appointed as either a personal welfare guardian or a property manager. The person appointed by the Court might not be the person who you would have chosen, had you been able.
Therefore, an EPA is a vital tool in achieving the transfer of responsibility for your affairs.
if you would like more information about POAs or EPAs.