As a person gets older, they may need to rely on the help of others when it comes to carrying out everyday activities. It may be necessary to have a close friend or family member take a more active role in the life of an older person.
These arrangements can be put in place by acquiring an enduring power of attorney.
An EPA can give a specific power to an appointed person or a general power which may include having full control of all financial and healthcare decisions.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that appoints a person (attorney) or persons to act on someone else’s behalf(donor) if that person has become mentally incapable of looking after his/her own affairs.
The attorney is usually a family member or close friend. The document is created while the donor is still in control of their everyday lives, but if the attorneys believe that the donor is becoming mentally incapacitated they may apply to the high court to have the EPA registered. It is only when the EPA is registered that it will begin to come into effect.
An EPA is a document prepared for an event that may not arise (your mental incapacity). Often the document is put in place and never acted upon but it is imperative that you create one so your attorney (a trusted person chosen by you) has the legal power to act and make decisions on your behalf.
Does every person over 50 make an EPA?
No, often people see it as an unnecessary cost because there is a professional fee for its creation, a medical cost of attendance with the GP and a letter from the GP to confirm your mental health and understanding at the time of creating the document. The cost is a minor consideration compared to the issue of nobody being able to access your finances in your sole account for your care and welfare, the acrimony that can arise when children and loved ones have different views on progressing your healthcare needs. Appointing an attorney avoids any ambiguity.
How long does it take to put in place?
Once the solicitor takes your instructions and you have accountability to your doctor, the documentation can, if there is an urgency, be put in place in 3 days. 2 notice parties (your next of kin) must be notified of your creation of the EPA, this will take place after the documentation has been signed so it does not delay the process.
Can I appoint my carer who is my family member?
We would agree that your carer is the person that would most know your healthcare requirements. You can appoint 2 separate attorneys for healthcare and finance if you wish. We discuss your wishes with you, understand the relationship you have with your nominated attorney.
With over 4 decades of experience dealing with seniors, we are knowledgeable and supportive, and understand your requirements.
“Where there is an EPA, there is a way”