An enduring power of attorney continues to have effect if you lose your mental capacity. This form of power of attorney is essential if you become incapacitated, for example through a serious accident, stroke or dementia and you want a trusted person to be able to take care of your property and finances.
You must make an enduring power of attorney before any of those things happen as you will be unable to do so after you lose mental capacity. Even your spouse with joint title to your home may find it necessary to make a costly application to a Court in order to deal with your home if you have not appointed your spouse as your attorney.
Your attorney may be granted full authority to deal with your property and financial affairs, or an appointment may be made with conditions or limitations expressed in the appointment. Accordingly, you should only appoint someone you trust (such as a trusted family member, friend or professional advisor). Your attorney must also be someone with the ability to deal competently and honestly with your affairs.
The appointment of alternative attorneys is also a good idea. This helps cover the risk that you may yourself lose capacity to appoint an attorney at some time in the future when your first appointed attorney ceases in that role for whatever reason. Then, your back-up attorney/s will already be in place and this will avoid the need for loved ones or family members to make slow and costly applications to the Court or have the Protective Commissioner step in order to deal with your property and finances.
At Hansons Lawyers we can advise you on the appropriate appointment for your circumstances and prepare that appointment for you. For more information, contact Peter Bahlmann.