What to think about for your Enduring Power of Attorney.
Getting your estate plan in order is one of those jobs that often falls off the priority list. Have a look at our earlier blog, “Key parts of your Will” for a simple breakdown of what you need to think about to map out your estate plan.
Like your Will, finalising your Enduring Power of Attorney can also be a simple and straightforward process. Your Enduring Power of Attorney is the document that gives power to someone else to make financial and/or health decisions on your behalf, usually once you have lost capacity. Below are the key parts of what makes up your Enduring Power of Attorney.
Your Enduring Power of Attorney
- Who do you want your attorney/s to be?
It is very important that you trust your attorney as they will be the person making decisions on your behalf when their power begins, which is usually once you have lost capacity. Your attorney does not need to be the same person as the executor in your Will and may be a friend, family member, or any other person you choose.
If you have a spouse, they are usually your first named attorney. We recommend you appoint at least one alternate attorney in case your first named attorney is unable to act for any reason.
- What decisions do you want your attorney to be able to make on your behalf?
You may give your attorney the power to act only in health matters, only in financial matters, or in both health and financial matters. If you have specific wishes regarding your health treatment, then those wishes are expressed in an Advanced Health Directive (not your Enduring Power of Attorney).
- When do you want your attorney’s power to commence?
The power of attorney can begin immediately, on a given date, or on a specific occasion. It is common for the power to commence once you have been assessed by a medical professional as no longer having capacity. This means that you are unable to make medical and/or financial decisions for yourself.
We appreciate that the above may require some time for you to consider. We find it is often easiest for our clients to flesh out the details of their estate plan through a face to face meeting at our office. During that meeting, we discuss your family circumstances and what you wish to achieve from your estate plan. Please contact us to arrange a meeting or to talk through any questions you have on how to finalise your estate plan.