An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document which we all need to have in place to guard against the possibility we may suffer a serious accident or illness and find ourselves unable to manage our own affairs and deal with all the personal and financial issues which are a normal part of daily life.
If a person becomes incapacitated and doesn’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place, those close to them end up in a state of confusion as to the manner in which they manage the simplest of tasks on behalf of the incapacitated person. This may result in the need for the Adult Guardian’s office (a State Government authority) to take control of the person’s affairs.
In one sense, an Enduring power of Attorney is more important than a legal will in that a person who dies without an effective will is not personally affected because they are deceased but a person who becomes incapacitated without an effective Enduring Power of Attorney will be personally affected if there is not a clear decision making structure in place.
The signing of an Enduring Power of Attorney is however, a very important step which needs careful consideration. In the hands of somebody who is going to act fraudulently or incompetently, an Enduring Power of Attorney is a very powerful and a very dangerous document.
An Enduring Power of Attorney commonly gives the attorney the authority to do anything that the person granting the Power of Attorney may lawfully do including access to bank accounts and the authority to sell property and other investments.
It is essential therefore that, while we have full mental capacity and are capable of thinking rationally, we need to carefully consider who is the person or persons who is/are going to be the person/s most likely to make honest and competent decisions on our behalf should we lose the capacity to do so.
There are numerous stories about persons who, because of age or illness, allow relatively recent acquaintances to become persons of influence in their life and end up granting them a Power of Attorney and it subsequently transpires that the intention of the apparent good Samaritan was to gain influence for their fraudulent personal gain. That is most likely to occur where there isn’t a strong family network acting in the best interests of the person who becomes incapacitated.
Should you need to put an Enduring Power of attorney in place, we can assist.
The solicitors at ABKJ are familiar with matters of Power of Attorney, as well as the intricacies and dangers of Enduring Powers of Attorney. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss how we can help you.