All You Need To Know About Enduring Power Of Attorney
An enduring power of attorney is a necessity in situations where you expect to be incapable of taking care of your personal affairs. It could be you are working abroad and, therefore, aren’t able to do business at home. That also applies if you are incapacitated through an accident or chronic disease.
When should you choose an enduring power of attorney?
No one ever plans to fall ill. But life happens. An unexpected illness or accident can render you totally unable to decide things for yourself. If you had a stroke today, it is possible for you to lose your mental capacity. Brain damage can also come as a result of an accident.
Of course, you don’t usually think of the possibility of these things happening. But they just could. That is why you need to make arrangements for having an agent act on your behalf when you are unable to. After all, life has to go on. You have bills to pay and property & shares to manage.
If you have an enduring power of attorney, a chosen trustee can exercise authority to decide in your stead. You can never tell if the dreaded effect of being mentally incapacitated is in your future.
There are other situations which may require an agent to act on your behalf. For instance, if you are physically unable to attend to your affairs, an attorney should be able to help you. You could either be rendered physically immobile or you find yourself overseas for a long period of time.
What does an enduring power of attorney cover?
With an enduring power of attorney, all your legal and financial matters will be taken care of. That doesn’t mean that you simply grant an unconditional power of attorney. Make sure you put in place proper checks and restrictions on the decisions the attorney can make on your behalf.
A health and welfare power of attorney will include decisions on healthcare. This could include what should be done in case you require any form of treatment or allow the attorney to make decisions which may include something as simple as the food you are fed should you require care. You may want control over the decision on whether the life support machine should be switched off.
Who can act as an enduring attorney?
While you can easily appoint anyone, make sure it is someone you trust. You might hire a lawyer if you want. You could also hire a friend or relative. Who else would you want to entrust with your wealth, health, and life?
Usually, an enduring power of attorney is given to just one person. It is, however, possible to appoint a different agent to cover different issues. Why not appoint them jointly, if you want? Also remember to pick a substitute agent, just in case your current attorney also becomes incapacitated.
Make sure the attorney understands your wishes on how you would like your affairs to be managed. That way, they will be able to make decisions that conform to what you want.
When does an enduring power of attorney take effect?
Don’t forget to choose the effective date of the enduring power of attorney. Will it be immediately after court registration, or when you actually become incapacitated? Make it absolutely clear before you sign.