Enduring Power of Attorney and Advanced Health Directives

An Enduring Power of Attorney (“EPOA”) is a legal document which, when completed, authorises another person to act on your behalf in respect to your daily health needs, financial affairs and personal matters.   This person is called an Attorney.

To be valid the EPOA must be in one of the two forms approved under legislation and must be signed by you (“the Principal”), witnessed by an eligible witness and signed by the Attorney.   The power granted to an Attorney by an EPOA can be limited by, for example, the Principal setting a date or an event when the Attorney may act upon the power granted for financial matters.

An EPOA will allow an Attorney to attend to the administering the affairs of the Principal when they are unable to attend to their own affairs in certain circumstances including mental or physical incapacity or when they are not contactable or are over seas.

Your EPOA will not entitle the Attorney to make decisions for you about matters such as making a Will, voting at elections, donation of body organs or certain psychiatric or other health care issues that are specified in legislation.   You can give your Attorney consent to make decisions about some of these matters if you make an Advanced Health Directive.

An Advanced Health Directive is a legal document approved under legislation.   It will set out detailed directions about your future health care and is completed in consultation with your Doctor and thereafter with your solicitor or an eligible witness.  

The Advanced Health Directive will not allow your Attorney to make decisions about euthanasia but may include directions about withholding medical treatment.

Both these documents, and others, usually form a suite of documents prepared for clients as part of their succession arrangements.

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