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  • Writer's pictureChris Parker

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney and why should I have one ?

A Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a document you prepare to allow someone else to make financial and personal, health and lifestyle decisions on your behalf….but why would, or should, you do this ?


  • You may not always be able to make decisions when you need to.

  • You may be too ill to make choices about your medical treatment or you could suffer a disability that prevents you communicating your wishes to others.

  • THE ADVANTAGE… YOU will have chosen who YOU would like to make decisions on your behalf.

You appoint someone called an “Attorney”- usually a relative or friend.  However, you must be very careful about who you choose as your attorney.  


AN ATTORNEY’S DECISIONS WILL HAVE THE SAME LEGAL POWER AS IF YOU HAD MADE THEM YOURSELF.


You can give your attorney responsibility for:-    


  • Personal matters such as where you live and who you have contact with;

  • Health care including medical treatments and critically this includes palliative care and “end-of-life” decisions;

  • Financial matters such as managing your Bank accounts, paying your bills and even selling your home.


Who should I choose ?

For Personal matters consider family members or a close friend who understands your personal health care needs and wishes.

For Financial matters. Consider someone who is responsible with their own money and understands financial matters.


An attorney must be over 18 years of age.


An attorney cannot be your health provider, paid carer or service provider for a residential service where you live


Note: a person receiving a carer’s pension or similar Centrelink benefit is not a paid carer.


What can go wrong ?

You are potentially giving this person total control over your assets and the ability to make personal decisions regarding your health, when you are unable to do so.


Although an EPA is generally not registered (unless dealing with Land) if an Attorney misuses their power/s then there are Courts and Tribunals who can make orders for compensation and punish the wrongdoer.  However, this is much akin to bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted.


So, when choosing an Attorney it is critical to have implicit trust in them.


Here's a couple of real-life examples which shows the importance of making sure you have an attorney you can trust:


  • An elderly man appointed his son (with financial woes) as his Attorney………..the son accessed his Bank account and removed just over $100K…………..

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  • An Attorney used $10k of his Dad’s money to buy his daughter a car……….he thought (wrongly) that Dad would have thought this was alright.


YOUR ATTORNEY MUST BE SOMEONE YOU TRUST WITH YOUR LIFE!




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