Trusts & Estates
Enduring powers of attorney are very important. We recommend these to all our clients, regardless of their age or circumstance.
It is now a requirement that anyone signing an enduring power of attorney (the Donor) receives legal advice before they sign. However, the person being appointed as the attorney doesn’t receive any legal advice at all. If you have been appointed an attorney by a family member or friend, then this article will provide you with some guidance as to what that role entails.
As an attorney, your job is to act for the donor and make decisions for them when they cannot make decisions themselves. There are two kinds of enduring power of attorney – property, which relate to the Donor’s assets, and personal care and welfare, which relates to the Donor themselves. The role could include helping the Donor pay their bills, selling their home, running their investments, finding an appropriate rest home or care facility or liaising with doctors.
As an attorney you cannot act contrary to any conditions or restrictions set out in the enduring power of attorney. Furthermore, as an attorney for personal care and welfare you cannot make decisions about entering into or ending a marriage or civil union, nor can you refuse consent to standard medical treatment or a procedure intended to save the Donor’s life.
Your actions as an attorney can be reviewed by the Court. Such an application can be brought by the Donor, a relative, a social worker, a medical practitioner, the manager of a care facility (if they are a resident there) amongst others.
Furthermore, if you do not meet the obligations imposed on you then you could be liable to fines.
If you have been appointed an attorney and have any questions about what your role entails, please give us a call to discuss.