When it comes to protecting your wishes, writing your Will is just the start. Understanding how additional legal tools, such as an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA), can help you is crucial to securing these wishes and supporting your family.
So, what is an enduring power of attorney? Is an EPOA in NSW the same as an EPOA in QLD? And, with so many other legal forms and costs to consider; is it really worth it? Read on to find out.
Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) is a legal document that grants another person (known as the attorney) the authority to make decisions on your behalf. This kicks in if you are unable to make decisions, due to physical or mental incapacitation.
Covering your financial, legal, and health-related matters, this document can help speed up decisions and act in your interests, fast. Granting power to the appointed person just when it matters most- it’s peace of mind for you, your estate and your wider family.
The point of an enduring power of attorney is to insure against the unexpected. Unfortunately, no one is immune to what that can bring, and so it’s a worthwhile layer of protection for every person, and every estate.
With this in mind, let's take a closer look at what an enduring POA looks like state to state.
In New South Wales, the enduring power of attorney is governed by the Powers of Attorney Act 2003. The power of the appointed attorney will only activate if you lose decision making capacity, however to create an EPOA in NSW, you must have the mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the document.
With this in mind, it's important to act ahead of time when thinking about an enduring power of attorney. The appointed attorney should be someone you trust implicitly, as they will have the authority to make decisions regarding your financial affairs, property, and other legal matters.
In Queensland, the enduring power of attorney is governed by the Powers of Attorney Act 1998. Similar to NSW, the person creating the EPOA must have the mental capacity to understand the document and appoint an attorney to act on their behalf.
In Victoria, the enduring power of attorney is governed by the Powers of Attorney Act 2014. The requirements for creating an EPOA in Victoria are comparable to those in NSW and QLD. You must have the mental capacity to comprehend the implications of the document, and the appointed attorney should be someone you trust to make decisions in your best interest.
Western Australia's enduring power of attorney is regulated by the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990. To establish an EPOA in Western Australia, the person creating the document must possess the mental capacity to understand its consequences. Selecting a reliable attorney is crucial, as they will have the authority to manage your financial, legal, and personal affairs when you are unable to do so.
In South Australia, the enduring power of attorney is governed by the Advance Care Directives Act 2013. Creating an EPOA in South Australia follows similar guidelines to other states. Mental capacity is a key requirement, and choosing an attorney who will act in your best interests is essential.
Ensures Decision-Making Continuity:
Regardless of your’e capacity, an enduring power of attorney ensures that your affairs are handled smoothly in your decision-making absence. This can prevent delays in important medical calls, as well as prevent financial disruption to otherwise neglected investments or businesses.
Safeguarding Your Interests:
An enduring power of attorney grants you peace of mind, knowing that your financial and legal matters will be managed by someone you trust. To feel the benefit of this ahead of time, it's worthwhile having thorough conversations with your EPOA before appointing them- ensuing their decisions align with your interests and goals.
Preventing Legal Complications:
Without an EPOA, your loved ones may face challenges and legal hurdles when attempting to handle your affairs. By creating an enduring power of attorney, you streamline the process and minimise the potential for disputes or conflicts, especially when quick decisions are required. .
Enduring Power of Attorney Forms
To establish an Enduring Power of Attorney, you will need to complete the necessary EPOA forms, as required by your state or territory.
These forms typically include information about yourself, the appointed attorney, and specific instructions regarding the scope of authority granted. To ensure this appointment is legally valid, it’s important to consult with a legal professional or access the official government websites, in order to obtain the appropriate forms for your jurisdiction.
You would typically appoint an enduring power of attorney whilst writing your Will.
We get it. The list of ‘what you need’ when you write your Will seems to be never ending, and increasingly overwhelming. But when it comes to POA vs EPOA… it really doesn’t have to be.
In Australia, there are two main types of power of attorney (POA): enduring power of attorney (EPOA) and general power of attorney (GPOA). The key difference between the two lies in the scope and duration of their authority.
A general power of attorney is typically used for a specific period or specific purpose, such as managing financial affairs during a person's absence or temporary incapacity. It grants authority to another individual, known as the attorney, to act on behalf of the principal.
However, unlike an enduring power of attorney, a general power of attorney becomes invalid if the principal loses mental capacity. This is where an enduring power of attorney comes into play. In continuing to be effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated, an enduring POA allows the attorney to make financial, legal, and personal decisions on the principal's behalf.
In this sense, an enduring POA provides a more comprehensive and long-lasting arrangement- making it particularly useful if the principal is facing progressive decline in mental or physical health. This could be especially relevant after the diagnosis of a progression, degenerative condition such as dementia.
With cognitive decline sadly on the rise amongst ageing populations, it’s never been more pressing to get this EPOA into play whilst you still can.
Safewill offers the most affordable, easy and convenient platform to write your Will. But that's not all…with every Will overseen by our team of specialist lawyers, we also offer tailored legal advice for you and your POA needs.
From questions on who to appoint as your enduring power of attorney, to which EPOA forms you need for your state- our team is here for you; making it easier and more convenient to have the benefits of legal support, just without the crazy costs.