What is an Enduring Power of Attorney – EPA?
A document by which a person gives an agent (the attorney) authority to act on his or her behalf is known as a Power of Attorney. The appointment becomes an Enduring Power of Attorney when the document states that the authority to act shall continue regardless of the later mental incapacity of the person giving the power.
In Queensland, the Power can be restricted to financial matters or extended to dealing with health issues: in either case, it is possible within the EPA document (which grants the power to the attorney) to provide for specific responses to identified triggers. The Justice Department in the various States will have information on their websites relevant to their jurisdictions (see the link below for the Queensland situation).
Should you have an EPA?
Whilst an EPA can be prepared from a pro-forma available from a Newsagent, or downloaded from the Queensland Department of Justice website1, a legal adviser with experience in Estate Planning should be engaged if anything different from a comprehensive general power is being contemplated.
Under an enduring power of attorney you may give your attorney power to make decisions regarding your financial, personal and health matters, such as:
- how your property should be invested;
- dealing with your bank accounts, land and other financial matters;
- 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;
- whether to consent, refuse to consent or withdraw consent to particular types of health care for you (i.e. an operation).
To be valid, there are particular signing requirements (at least under the law in Queensland) and these should be followed carefully.
How to arrange your EPA:
Your adviser at Continuum Financial Planners Pty Ltd can assist you with the overall task of Estate Planning – and with referral to experienced legal advisers who work in this area. Phone our office (on 07-34213456), or use our Contact us facility to arrange a meeting to discuss your circumstances and needs.
1The linked page has three documents of use in regards to Enduring Powers of Attorney: a short form; a long form; and a revocation form – the use for each of which is explained on the Public Guardian website page.
We thank McKays Solicitors for allowing us to base our article on this topic on material found in their website.
[This article was originally posted in January 2010; it is occasionally updated, most recently in May 2017.]