Private Law

Enduring Powers of Attorney

Enduring Powers of Attorney

Life is uncertain by nature. No matter what your age or the state of your health, an accident or sudden illness can occur at any time which may render you incapable of managing your own affairs.

In such an event, someone needs to make sure your mortgage and other bills are paid, that your dependents are taken care of, and that you are being properly cared for. Signing an enduring power of attorney (EPA) enables you to appoint someone to act on your behalf and take care of your personal of financial matters if you become mentally incapacitated. It is essential to ensure you have in place lawful powers of attorney while you are healthy, as if the time comes that you need an EPA and you haven’t already signed one, it will be too late.

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) can be of two types: a personal care and welfare EPA and a property EPA. The former grants your attorney the authority to make decisions regarding your personal care and welfare, such as medical treatments and hospitalization, while the latter gives them the power to manage and make decisions related to your property and financial affairs. Your attorney for personal care and welfare can be the same or different person from your property attorney. You should choose an attorney(s) whom you trust to act in your best interest and handle your affairs competently.

An EPA for personal care and welfare only comes into effect if you become mentally incapable. With property EPAs you can choose whether it is to be effective only if you become mentally incapable, which may require your attorney to obtain a medical certificate, or as soon as you sign it, which can be useful if you are overseas or temporarily unable to deal with your finances.

Crucially, in order for your EPA to be valid, you must be mentally competent at the time of signing. That’s why its so important to set up an EPA while you still have legal capacity – it cannot be set up if you have lost mental competency.

It is critical to ensure that your EPA is valid, which requires adhering to specific rules. You must fill out the correct form, sign it alongside your attorney, and have a lawyer or qualified legal executive witness your signature. Complying with these strict requirements is essential to ensure that your EPA is lawful and effective. The team at Freebairn and Hehir lawyers can assist you with the process of setting up your EPA and ensure that your interests are protected.