What is it?

An enduring power of attorney allows an attorney to make decisions for you in two areas:

  • financial and legal matters; and
  • personal matters.

The same or different people can be appointed to make decisions for these two areas.

This document continues to have effect even if you lose capacity.

It can take effect immediately, or when an event occurs (such as a medical practitioner certifying that the donor has lost capacity).

Financial and legal matters

Financial and legal matters include:

  • making money available for your expenditure;
  • paying expenses for you and your dependants;
  • paying debts and expenses, including rates, taxes and insurances; and
  • using legal services for your benefit and bringing or defending legal proceedings.

Personal matters

Personal matters include:

  • where and who you live with and who you associate with;
  • if you can work, and if so, where; and
  • daily living issues such as diet and dress.

Appointment of attorney(s)

You can appoint one or more attorneys and alternative attorneys.  The alternative attorneys only act when the first attorney cannot act (due to death, absence or incapacity of the first attorney).

The first attorney is usually the spouse of the donor.  The alternative attorney(s) are the children (if they are able to act), close relatives, or a friend or adviser of the donor.

Appointment of multiple attorneys

If you appoint more than one first attorney or alternative attorneys, the can be appointed jointly, severally, jointly and severally, or by majority:

  • ‘jointly’ requires agreement to act and sign documents on your behalf;
  • ‘severally’ allows any of the attorneys to act independently of any other attorneys;
  • ‘jointly and severally’ allows any one or more of the attorneys to act either independently or as a collective; and
  • ‘by majority’ allows a majority of attorneys to act (such as two or three).