A Power of Attorney is a document that allows one person (“the donee”) to appoint another person (“the attorney”) to act for the donee concerning the donee’s finances.
If the donee loses the capacity to make financial decisions for themselves, the Power of Attorney can no longer operate.
That is where an Enduring Power of Attorney comes in. An Enduring Power of Attorney can still operate and, in some circumstances, will only operate if the donee no longer has capacity.
As a result, when a client comes to us to make a Will, we always recommend that they consider also making an Enduring Power of Attorney. The Enduring Power of Attorney allows the donee to appoint someone they trust to make financial decisions and act for them if they can’t make financial decisions and act for themselves, whether that be temporary, due to an accident or hospitalization, or permanently, due to the onset of dementia or any other disabling mental condition.
A donee can only appoint an attorney while they have the capacity to make financial decisions themselves.
A Power of Attorney, whether Enduring or not, will cease to have effect immediately on the death of the donee.
Suppose you do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney and you have lost your capacity to make an Enduring Power of Attorney. In that case, someone can apply to the Guardianship and Administration Board to be appointed to make financial decisions for you. The appointed person may not know you personally or be someone you trust.
The Office of the Public Advocate produces an information kit for Enduring Powers of Attorney, which you can find at https://www.wa.gov.au/system/files/2021-11/epa_kit.pdf