The Power of Attorney is a complex yet imperative legal document that is normally required to form part of your life management. Whereas a general POA is only relevant whilst you are alive, there is also the Enduring Power of Attorney, who has significantly more responsibility and may form an integral part of your Legacy information.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
The Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints someone to make decisions about your life matters, such as your personal living circumstances or your finances or both. This person is called an ‘Attorney’ and their power is enduring (or continues) if and when you are unable to make decisions.
As the person appointing an Enduring Power of Attorney, you are able to limit the power to cover specific matters and you can also choose when the power ends. Please note, that the Enduring Power of Attorney cannot make medical decisions (unless they are also your medical decision maker, as set out in your Advance Care Directive).
Tip: Every State and Territory in Australia has their own rules about an Enduring Power of Attorney and it is highly recommended that you speak to a legal professional concerning your circumstances.
What is the difference between a Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney?
It is important to note that an Enduring Power of Attorney differs from a Power of Attorney in that the former will continue to operate even if you should lose mental capacity. That is, it will continue to operate after you have lost the mental capacity to make your own decisions. As this gives the Attorney significant powers, an Enduring Power of Attorney has additional requirements:
- The document must clearly state that you wish the appointed Enduring Power of Attorney to continue after you have lost mental capacity.
- The Enduring Power of Attorney must sign the document to indicate his or her consent.
- The Enduring Power of Attorney form must be signed by a prescribed witness, who must also sign a certificate on the form stating that they have explained what an Enduring Power of Attorney is to you, and that you have understood this.