Timing for power of at­tor­ney

Money Magazine Australia - - THIS MONTH -

An en­dur­ing power of at­tor­ney (EPOA) is some­thing we should all con­sider, but know­ing when to make one is equally as im­por­tant. It is there­fore es­sen­tial to con­sider the timing.

Your at­tor­ney’s power con­tin­ues af­ter you have lost the men­tal ca­pac­ity to make de­ci­sions about your fi­nan­cial af­fairs. The EPOA will need to be ex­plained to you by a “pre­scribed wit­ness”, such as a so­lic­i­tor or even, if you’re overseas, a le­gal prac­ti­tioner qual­i­fied in a coun­try other than Aus­tralia. Ac­cord­ingly, a valid EPOA should be done be­fore you are ever at risk of be­ing deemed not to have ca­pac­ity to deal with your fi­nances. It is rec­om­mended that an EPOA is made as part of your broader es­tate plan­ning and prob­a­bly years be­fore you ever in­tend it to take ef­fect.

Who­ever you choose as your at­tor­ney must be aware of their re­spon­si­bil­ity to act in your best in­ter­ests. There­fore, you need to en­sure it is some­one you trust and who is ca­pa­ble of deal­ing with your fi­nan­cial ar­range­ments, no mat­ter how com­plex.

Peter Townsend, prin­ci­pal, Townsends Busi­ness & Cor­po­rate Lawyers

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