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Enduring Power of Attorney

Protect your assets and financial affairs in the event of an unforeseen accident or incapacity.

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorises your ‘attorney’ (this may be your spouse, trusted family member, friend or professional adviser) to manage your financial affairs, in the event of an unforeseen accident or severe incapacity. It is an important part of your estate planning and helps ensure your financial future is looked after.

An attorney can usually access bank accounts to withdraw and deposit funds, pay bills from your account, deal with other assets such as shares, property and other investments. A key responsibility of your attorney is they act in your best interest.

A Power of Attorney is not to be mistaken for your Will, which only operates upon your death. An Enduring Power of Attorney ensures you have someone to assist in the management of your financial affairs during your lifetime if the need arises.

Kells can advise you who to appoint and how to secure that appointment.

Who needs an Enduring Power of Attorney?

At Kells, we advise all our clients to have an Enduring Power of Attorney.

It is impossible to anticipate when there may be an accident, so it is important that everybody, no matter their age or stage of life, has appointed an attorney that can legally act on their behalf if the need arises.

An Enduring Power of Attorney is essential in the event of severe incapacity:

  • Crippling accident
  • Stroke
  • Dementia / Alzheimer’s diagnoses.

Remember – the unforeseen can happen! It is too late once you lose capacity. Every adult should have an Enduring Power of Attorney.

Can I have a Power of Attorney for when I am travelling out of the country?

At Kells, we advise all our clients to have an Enduring Power of Attorney.

It is impossible to anticipate when there may be an accident, so it is important that everybody, no matter their age or stage of life, has appointed an attorney that can legally act on their behalf if the need arises.

An Enduring Power of Attorney is essential in the event of severe incapacity:

  • Crippling accident
  • Stroke
  • Dementia / Alzheimer’s diagnoses.

Remember – the unforeseen can happen! It is too late once you lose capacity. Every adult should have an Enduring Power of Attorney.

If you do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney, who will manage your affairs?

If you have lost capacity and you do not have a Power of Attorney, someone in your family will need to apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to be granted power over your legal and financial affairs. NCAT has a process to determine the most appropriate person to manage your affairs, which can be an expensive and time-consuming process for your family.

Case study
Jess’s husband Tom has impaired mental capacity and is cared for in an aged care facility. Tom has money in a bank account. The bank will not allow Jess to access Tom’s bank account unless she has the legal authority to do so. As Tom does not have an Enduring Power of Attorney, Jess has to apply to NCAT to grant her power over Tom’s financial affairs to enable her to sign documents on Tom’s behalf. This could have been avoided if Tom had appointed an attorney whilst he still had capacity.

Alternatively, with no Power of Attorney, your assets may need to be managed by a New South Wales State Government office such as the NSW Trustee Guardian or by recourse to NSW State Courts and Tribunals. The cost of government administration is significant.

For the right professional advice, contact one of our experienced estate planning lawyers for a consultation.

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