An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) is a legal document that will enable others to protect you and what is precious to you should you become unable to make or communicate these decisions yourself, for example through illness or an accident.
There are two types of EPOAs, one relates to your property, and the other to personal care and welfare. It is important to have an EPOA so that your attorney(s) can make decisions about your welfare, assets, and finances, if you become mentally incapable. Under each EPOA you can appoint an attorney who can make decisions on your behalf, noting those decisions must always be in your best interests.
A Property EPOA covers your finances and assets such as your bank accounts, investments, your home and other property, and personal chattels.
A Personal Care and Welfare EPOA covers your health, and associated care decisions.
A Property EPOA differs from a Personal Care and Welfare EPOA in that it can come into effect before you lose mental capacity. An attorney under a Personal Care and Welfare EPOA can only come into effect once you have lost mental capacity.
Without an EPOA, your spouse or family members cannot automatically act on your behalf in relation to your assets, personal care, or financial dealings. If no one has the authority under an EPOA to act on your behalf, your family will need to apply to the Family Court to obtain the authority to act. This can be a lengthy and costly process and the outcome may not align with your wishes.
If you do not have an EPOA and you would like to discuss the benefits of having EPOAs and the process to create one, please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our Property team members at TODD & WALKER Law via [email protected]