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Enduring Powers of Attorney
An enduring power of attorney enables you to appoint a representative to make financial decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated.
It is a legal document in which you are able to nominate someone you trust to handle your affairs, should you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. Without an enduring power of attorney, there may be nobody with legal authority to manage your affairs and make decisions on your behalf.
Most hospitals and retirement villages/nursing homes require that you have an EPOA.
The difference between general and enduring powers of attorney
A general power of attorney allows you to nominate someone to legally act on your behalf while you are still mentally capable. This person is authorised to sign official documents on your behalf—say, for instance, if you are overseas. They can also be authorised to access your bank accounts and handle your financial affairs.
However, with a general power of attorney, this legal authority ceases to apply should you become mentally incapacitated. Only a person appointed by an enduring power of attorney can legally act on your behalf in such a scenario.
It’s important to remember that your nominated attorney is only able to deal with financial and property related issues. They cannot make medical, health or lifestyle decisions on your behalf. You can, however, make an advance health directive to address such issues.
For advice on Wills and Estates and Enduring Powers of Attorney, please call or email:
Your Superannuation and Enduring Powers of Attorney
A recent Queensland Supreme Court case (Re Narumon Pty Ltd  QSC 185) has confirmed that your Attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney may (if permitted under the Fund rules) confirm or revoke or vary and existing Binding Death Benefit Nomination or make a new Nomination (even if there is no specific provision in your EPA document permitting this to occur).
Many people make specific provision in their EPA document to allow this to occur.
For those who do not want their attorney to be able to this (there are often many good reasons) the effect of the Narumon decision is that now you should, within the terms of your EPA document, specifically restrict your attorney from being able to do so.
It now highly recommended that your review your EPA document particularly if:-
- your attorney is also the Executor nominated in your will;
- you have included a conflicts clause in your EPA document;
- you have made a lapsing or non-lapsing Binding Death Benefit Nomination;
- you have children from a previous marriage.
- you have children that don’t get along (or might not get along in the future).