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Enduring Power of Attorney

The Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 is the legislation which establishes enduring powers of attorney and sets out the requirements for the form. It also establishes two other future planning tools which are called enduring powers of guardianship and advance health directives.

An enduring power of guardianship enables you to appoint someone to make personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions on your behalf if you lose capacity. Powers of attorney allow you to choose someone to act in your stead should that become necessary in the future. If an accident or illness prevented you from being able to make financial decisions, or attend to the payment of bills and expenses, you would most probably want to have some level of control over how these transactions were carried out on your behalf. Due to the legal requirements of banking and other institutions including insurance, telephone and power companies, if you are unable to attend to transactions yourself, the person you ask to make transactions for you will require legal authority to do so. For example, if you are incapacitated, a person of your choosing can take care of financial matters for you. Making an enduring power of attorney while you have full capacity enables you to give someone this legal authority. This person (your attorney) will then be able to assist in your financial affairs and make financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself due to illness or loss of capacity.

While it is possible to appoint a professional or a body corporate as your attorney this guide is written in the context of a person being appointed. However, the steps for making the power and the role of the attorney are the same, whoever is appointed.

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