What happens if I cannot manage my own affairs?

If through illness or accident, you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself, someone else can be appointed to manage your financial affairs. You can prepare for such circumstances in your future by nominating a person to have authority over your financial affairs in such a situation. The document whereby you nominate and give authority to this person is called an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA).

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney

An EPA is a document that gives a nominated person absolute power to manage your financial affairs when you are not able to. Managing your financial affairs can include anything from selling property to withdrawing money from the bank. If real property (i.e. Real estate) is to be dealt with, the EPA needs to be registered with Landgate.

If you have not signed an EPA and you become unable to manage your financial affairs, a person will have to make an application to the State Administrative Tribunal to manage your financial affairs. This may not be the same person you would wish to have control of your financial affairs. Such a situation could lead to neglect, abuse or a government body stepping in. However, even if it is a person you would have approved of, it will be a costly and time consuming exercise for them, compared to the relative economy and time efficiency of making an EPA while you are in good health.

The need for an EPA often arises suddenly and if an EPA is not in place a spouse may not be able to sell property to pay for medical expenses or access funds from a bank account. Basically, everything that requires your signature or authority is frozen. This can add further stress to an already traumatic experience.

For more information on EPAs, please read here.

An EPG is a legal document in which you appoint one or more people as Enduring Guardian(s) to make personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions on your behalf.

  • Your EPG will only be used if and when you become unable to communicate your wishes or make decisions for yourself.
  • You should appoint someone you know and trust. For example, your spouse or partner, other relative or close friend.
  • You should ensure your Enduring Guardian is aware of your personal beliefs and preferences about your lifestyle.
  • You can choose the decisions your Enduring Guardian will be able to make, such as where you live and what treatment and services you receive.
  • If you give your Enduring Guardian the power to make treatment decisions for you and you have also made an AHD, treatment decisions will be made in accordance with your AHD and not by your Enduring Guardian as far as the provisions of the documents overlap.

For more information on EPGs, please read here.

Enduring Powers of Guardianship (“EPGs”) enable you to plan for personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions.

Appointing an Enduring Guardian or making an Enduring Power of Guardianship enables you to choose one or more people to make personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make or communicate them for yourself.  You can give your Enduring Guardian the power to make all, or some of these decisions.

If you would like to know more information, please contact the team at Lynn & Brown today.

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