Dec 10, 2023

Understanding Enduring Power of Attorney

Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint a trusted person to manage your financial and legal affairs in the event you become unable to do so due to illness, accident, or absence. It's a significant decision that can have profound implications for your future. In this post, we'll explore why you might need an EPOA and the factors to consider when making this decision.

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Why Would You Need an EPOA?

An EPOA is essential for everyone, regardless of age or health status. Unexpected situations can arise at any time, leaving you unable to manage your affairs. For instance, you could be overseas and need someone to handle a legal matter at home, or you could become seriously ill or mentally incapacitated. In these scenarios, having an EPOA ensures that your chosen representative can step in and manage your affairs according to your wishes.

Choosing Your Attorney

Choosing the right person to act as your attorney is crucial. It should be someone you trust implicitly, as they will have control over your financial and legal affairs. They should also understand your wishes and be willing to act in your best interests. This person could be a family member, friend, or a trusted professional such as a lawyer or accountant.


What Powers Does an Attorney Have?

An attorney appointed under an EPOA has extensive powers. They can make decisions about your property and finances, such as selling your home, managing your investments, or paying your bills. However, they cannot make decisions about your personal or health matters unless you also appoint them as your health attorney.

Limitations and Safeguards

While the powers of an attorney under an EPOA are extensive, there are also safeguards in place to protect you. For example, your attorney must always act in your best interests and keep accurate records of their decisions and transactions. If they fail to do so, they can be held legally accountable.


When Does an EPOA Take Effect?

An EPOA can take effect in two ways: immediately after it's signed or only when you lose capacity to manage your affairs. You can choose the option that best suits your needs when drafting the document. If you choose the latter, your attorney will need to provide medical evidence that you're unable to manage your affairs before they can act.


In conclusion, having an Enduring Power of Attorney is a sensible step towards protecting your interests in unforeseen circumstances. It's a decision that requires careful thought and planning. Consult with a legal professional to understand your options and ensure your EPOA is set up correctly.