Empowering Your Future: Understanding the Powers of Attorney

Planning for your future is essential, and having a well-drafted Power of Attorney (POA) in place is critical. The POA ensures your wishes are respected. This article will explore what a Power of Attorney entails and why you must consider putting these in place often before you need them.

Power of Attorney Defined


POA is a legal document that allows you to authorise someone you trust to act on your behalf with your best interest in mind. The person named on your POA is known as the attorney. Your nominated attorney will make decisions and act according to your wishes when you cannot do it yourself. One reason that you might need POA is if your health deteriorates. Another reason is when there are legal actions that need to undertake even while you’re out of the country.

There are two types of Power of Attorney—the General Power of Attorney (GPOA) and the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). In your temporary absence, you can authorise someone to do specific tasks on your behalf for a fixed period with a GPOA. You can grant authority to someone as your decision-maker on a temporary or permanent basis and endures if you are mentally incapacitated and cannot make sound decisions.

Two Types of Enduring Power of Attorney


  1. Personal Care and Welfare EPA allows you to appoint someone you trust (the attorney) to make decisions regarding your personal care, welfare, and medical treatment. This takes effect when you become incapable of making those decisions yourself and a medical certificate of incapacity has been issued. The Personal Care and Welfare EPA gives the attorney authority to make decisions on behalf of the donor in various areas. When you put this in place you can provide specific instructions as to how your attorney should act for you in the event you are unable covering matters such as:
  • Care & health arrangements
  • Consent to treatment
  • Support and welfare services
  • End of life decisions
  1. Property EPA lets you appoint someone you trust to manage your financial affairs. The attorney makes decisions regarding your property and assets based on your EPA instructions which can be used whilst you have incapacity and when you can no longer make sound decisions. These property and financial related matters that the attorney will have the authority to handle may include:
  • Bills and debts
  • Financial management
  • Investments
  • Legal matters
  • Real estate

We always recommend clients put EPAs in place for Property and Personal Care and Welfare as they apply to different areas of your life and decision making, noting though your attorneys will be interacting to act on your behalf.  The Property EPA is specifically focused on financial and property matters. If you want to grant decision-making authority regarding personal care and welfare, a separate Personal Care and Welfare EPA should be created.

It’s important to note that your EPA ceases to take effect upon your death. But while you are still living, you can also cancel your EPA as long as you are of sound mind. However, there are cases when the court can revoke your EPA when it thinks your appointed attorney is not doing the right thing. As EPAs are an important legal document giving your personal rights to another to act for you, the law requires you obtain legal advice to put these in place.   You can only execute EPAs whilst you have the mental capacity to do so, which means attending to these before you require them.  You need to consult a lawyer specialising in GPOA or EPAs, to ensure that your documents are appropriately prepared and meet all legal requirements.

At the Law Connection, our lawyers can help you with EPAs for property, personal care and welfare, and deed of delegation. We are here to help you care for yourself and your property during unexpected life situations.