What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) is a legal document that allows someone else to make personal and/or financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
You may lose the ability to make your own decisions through illness or accident either temporarily or on a permanent basis. If you have an EPOA in place the person(s) of your choosing will be able to make personal, financial, and health decisions on your behalf.
Who can be an attorney?
Your attorney(s) can be any adult person who is accepting of the role of your attorney provided they are not your paid carer or health-care provider. You should be very careful about who you choose as your attorney as you are potentially giving another person control over your assets, and decision making abilities in the event that you are unable to.
What type of decisions can my attorney make for me?
You can give your attorney responsibility for your decisions in respect of:
What would happen if I did not have an EPOA?
If you do not have an attorney to act on your behalf it is likely a spouse of family member may be able to act informally on your behalf. Some institutions such as banks may require an EPOA in order for another person to process payments or collect income on your behalf.
What is an Advance Health Directive?
An advance health directive allows you to give directions in respect of your medical treatment in the event that you no longer have the capacity to do so. This could include directives in what should occur if you are on life support, in the terminal phase of an incurable disease, or other ‘special health’ decisions. If you are placed in such a ‘special health’ situation, an attorney appointed to make health decisions under an EPOA may not have the power to make decisions under such advanced circumstances.
Who can make an Advance Health Directive?
Anyone who is over eighteen years of age and is capable of understanding the nature of the directive can make an advance health directive. It is a requirement of completing an advance health directive that you consult with a suitably qualified medical practitioner who will take you through the relevant considerations involved.
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