The thought of yourself not being able to make decisions anymore can often be a scary one. It is therefore important to have someone you can trust to assist you in making important decisions for you when the time comes, and you lack mental capacity. This is what we call the Power of Attorney and the Enduring Guardianship.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants another person or entity the power to deal with your assets or financial affairs while you are still living. It is highly recommended that whoever you grant such powers to be someone that is sensible, experienced and knowledgeable in your affairs.
There are generally two types of Powers of Attorney available:
- General Power of Attorney: The power granted to the requisite person or entity will lapse on the earlier of the end date or if you lose mental capacity.
- Enduring Power of Attorney: This arrangement will continue to exist even after you lose your mental capacity.
A Power of Attorney is recommended as a form of safeguarding your interests in the event that you are unable to do so in the future. For instance, when you become ill, are overseas or confined to bedrest and unable to visit official destinations such as banks or government agencies, having a Power of Attorney will allow your appointed person to take care of such affairs for you.
An Enduring Guardianship on the other hand permits a person you choose, while you have full capacity, to make important personal, lifestyle and welfare decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to do so. The enduring guardian may be directed by you to exercise decision-making functions on your behalf in relation to situations nominated by you – such as which hospital or doctors to seek treatment from, euthanasia options or simply deciding where you should spend your retirement years. The enduring guardian’s powers however are limited to welfare and lifestyle decisions – they will not be able to create official documents on your behalf such as creating a Will or managing your finances.
Appointing an enduring guardian forms part of holistic estate planning as it allows you the option of choosing someone you trust to act on your behalf. Any person who is at least 18 years of age may be appointed as your enduring guardian. The appointment shall only be in effect when you lose the ability to make your own personal lifestyle decisions.
Be it a Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardianship, our team at Biz Lawyers & Advisory can assist you in the appointment process and advise you on the relevant legal processes. Please contact us today for more information or for an initial consultation.