An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) is an integral part of any Estate Plan.
This is legal document allows you to appoint a person or persons (known as attorneys) to look after your financial and personal affairs.
An EPOA can operate immediately, however most often it will operate once you lose the capacity to manage your own affairs and make your own decisions. Ultimately, this is a matter for you to decide depending on the advice you receive based on your circumstances and needs.
If you lose capacity and do not have a valid EPOA, your family may have to apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to have an attorney appointed for you and this may not be the person or persons you would have chosen to appoint for yourself. This can be a costly exercise and particularly difficult for your family to have to navigate during an already difficult time.
An EPOA can generally be in a long or short form. The major difference is that a long form EPOA allows you to appoint different attorneys for personal (health) matters and financial matters. On the other hand, a short form EPOA will have the same attorney or attorneys for personal (health) matters and financial matters.
The team at Hillhouse can draft your EPOA and advise you on what powers you may wish your attorney to exercise, the scope of those powers and when you want the EPOA to operate.
We can also provide advice as to whom you may wish to appoint as your attorney or attorneys.
The choice of an attorney is a very personal decision and will usually be a spouse, parent or sibling. On occasion, a professional person such as your accountant or financial advisor may be appropriate. Sometimes it is appropriate to have multiple attorneys (up to 4) and it can also be appropriate to have different attorneys to make decisions under the EPOA for your health and financial matters. You can also choose to stipulate that multiple attorneys must make joint decisions unanimously, by majority, or can make a sole decision and without regard to the other attorneys.
A qualified witness, usually a Justice of the Peace or Lawyer, must witness you signing the EPOA.
If you do not have an EPOA or have not updated your EPOA or Will after a major life event such as a marriage, divorce, having children or a death, you should review your Estate plan as soon as possible with financial and legal advice. To make sure the correct EPOA is set up for your individual circumstances, make sure you seek expert legal, accounting and financial advice before taking any action.
To discuss how Hillhouse Legal Partners can assist you in preparing your EPOA and other Estate Documents including your Will, contact Robert Lamb on 07 3220 1144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information in this blog is intended only to provide a general overview and has not been prepared with a view to any particular situation or set of circumstances. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. While we attempt to ensure the information is current and accurate we do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the information in this blog as it may not be appropriate for your individual circumstances.