Enduring Power of Attorney: Explained

What an Enduring Power of Attorney actually is, why you need one & how to download the forms for free.

Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney go together, like peanut butter and jam - just way less popular. But despite both dealing with similarly uncomfortable topics, these two documents serve two very distinct purposes. And guess what? You need both!

So what is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA for short) is a legal document that nominates a person (or persons) to:

  • make financial decisions; and/or

  • make personal decisions;

    on your behalf in the event you lose decision-making capacity.

Why do I need one?

The ability to make decisions for ourselves is a privilege that so many of us take for granted. A person’s decision-making capacity can be lost due to a number of different reasons, such as an accident, illness or medical condition.

In the event we one day lost our decision-making capacity, it makes sense that we would want a person (or persons, if you prefer to have more than one) who we know and trust to make important decisions on our behalf. This trusted person is called our ‘Attorney’ (n.b. NOT to be confused with the American interpretation of attorney). An Attorney is simply a trusted individual (over the age of 18) who has been chosen by us to step up to the plate if we are unable to make financial and/or personal decisions for ourselves.

In short, via an EPOA, we give our attorney ‘enduring power’ to make these decisions on our behalf.

But don’t worry, just because they have been granted ‘enduring power’ doesn’t mean that your Attorney can start wielding unlimited authority over your life. Your Attorney is only able to make decisions on your behalf in relation to financial matters and/or personal matters (depending on the parameters you’ve set out in the original EPOA).

The term ‘enduring’ simply means that the powers of your Attorney are effective if (and only if) you lose capacity. The Attorney you have nominated is not empowered to make any decisions on your behalf prior to that occurring. The question of whether you have lost your decision-making capacity is one made by a qualified medical professional.

Did somebody say Free Download?

Many people don’t know that EPOA forms can be accessed directly from their State or Territory’s government website. Each State / Territory provides EPOA form templates and accompanying Guidelines to assist in completing the forms, along with information on how to properly finalise and sign the EPOA to make it effective.

We’ve compiled a list below of where to download your EPOA Forms & Guidelines for free, so be sure to save this post and when you’re ready, click on your State or Territory to get started! (Or start now, we won’t stop you...)