Need Help With Estate Planning?
Most people know that they “should” have a will but that is only the first step in taking control of your affairs.
Having a valid and up-to-date Wills is essential in ensuring that your estate is distributed as you want following your death. However, by meeting with us and discussing your situation, we can advise whether there are steps which can be taken now to avoid or minimise challenges to your will and further stress for those left behind.
Enduring Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Directives allow you to choose who makes decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapable of doing so for yourself. These documents also allow you to give direction as to the type of care you want and how you prefer your affairs to be handled.
If you have been appointed as an attorney and have questions about your responsibilities then we can also assist you. An attorney must act in accordance with the Powers of Attorney act in the terms of the enduring power of attorney so it is essential that advice be obtained before decisions are made.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
Who is Your Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) allows you to give someone else (your Attorney) the authority to make decisions on your behalf.
Every adult should have an EPA. Accidents and illness can happen at any time. Having an EPA ensures you are protected. Should you not be able to make decisions, someone of your choosing can.
You can make and sign an EPA provided you are:
- Over 18 years of age; and
- Have the capacity to understand the nature and effect of making the EPA.
Please contact us for further assistance.Download our Enduring Power of Attorney Information Brochure
FAQS ABOUT ENDURING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
An EPA allows you to give someone else (your Attorney) the authority to make decisions on your behalf.
You can make and sign an EPA provided you are:
• Over 18 years of age; and
• Have the capacity to understand the nature and effect of making the EPA.
Every adult should have an EPA. Accidents and illness can happen at any time. Having an EPA ensures you are protected. Should you not be able to make decisions,
someone of your choosing can.
You can give your Attorney the power to make personal and health care decisions. They can also make financial decisions if you choose.
Examples of personal decisions include where you live and who you have contact with. Examples of healthcare decisions include choosing which medical procedures
and treatments you have. Financial matters include managing your bank accounts and other assets such as your home.
When you make an EPA, you can instruct the Attorney how to handle these matters. You can chose the extent of the authority and the matters they have power over. For
an EPA to be effective it is critical you seek legal advice.
Your Attorney must meet the following criteria:
• Be 18 years of age or over; and
• Not be bankrupt; and
Not be your paid carer. Please note a person receiving a carer’s pension to look after you is not regarded as a paid carer.
Because your Attorney has considerable authority, you must choose people you trust. For personal and health matters it is critical your Attorney understands your
needs and wishes. Trusted family and friends are often the best option.
For financial matters, we recommend you choose someone who understands financial matters. It is also desirable that they are responsible with their own
You may appoint one or more people as your Attorney/s for personal and health matters. You can appoint someone else as your Attorney/s for financial matters.
In other words you can have several Attorneys.
We recommend that you appoint at least two Attorneys. You want these two people to be able to work together well.
When you appoint more than one Attorney, you need to decide how they will act. There are 3 choices for how they
will make decisions:
• Jointly – all Attorneys make the decisions together; or
• Individually – one Attorney can make a decision without the agreement of others; or
• Successively – you can appoint alternate Attorneys should your Attorney not be able to act. Couples often appoint their adult children as successive Attorneys.
For personal and health care matters, your Attorney’s power only begins if and when you lose decision-making capacity.
For financial matters, your Attorney’s power begins whenever you specify in the EPA document.
Please note, even if you nominate that the Attorney’s power to make financial decisions commences immediately, you can still make your own decisions while you have capacity.
You can revoke your EPA at any time, providing you have capacity to understand the nature and effect of your actions.
An EPA is generally automatically revoked if:
• You marry someone other than your Attorney; or
• Your spouse is your Attorney and you get divorced; or
• Your spouse is your Attorney and they are no longer able to act and there is no successive Attorney.
Your Attorney’s power ends:
• Immediately upon your death; or
• Upon receipt of a written notice of resignation from the Attorney.
This will depend upon the terms you choose to include in the EPA.You may require your Attorney to notify you and anyone else that you nominate.
If you are unhappy with your Attorney you can revoke the EPA. Please note, this can only happen if you have the
capacity to understand your actions.
If you do not have capacity to do this for yourself, then the Public Guardian may assist. They can investigate the Attorney’s actions. And they can take action to protect your interests. An Attorney who fails to act properly can be ordered to pay compensation.
An AHD allows you to give written, binding directions about your future health care.
It allows you to give instructions about specific matters including;
• Treatments you would like; and
• Treatments you would not like.
Your doctor must be involved in the preparation of your Advanced Health Directive.
These important documents require the assistance of an experienced Lawyer. If they are not completed and
executed properly, the consequences can be devastating for all parties. We invite you to contact us to discuss further.