An Enduring Power of Attorney is an important legal document you can use to appoint someone to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. If you are the one passing the authority to someone else you are called the donor. The person you pass the authority to is called the attorney. A Power of Attorney is "enduring" because its power continues after the donor becomes mentally incapacitated or it can take effect after the donor becomes mentally incapacitated.
An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to prepare for a time when you may become ill or suffer a disability and, as a result, become unable to manage your own financial and legal affairs. An Enduring Power of Attorney also allows you to appoint an attorney to manage certain (or all) of your financial affairs now and will continue even if you become mentally incapacitated.
An Enduring Power of Attorney must:
- Be made in writing and dated
- Be signed by the donor in the presence of a witness
- Be signed by the witness in the presence of the donor
- State that it is to continue notwithstanding any mental incapacity or infirmity of the donor that occurs after the execution of the Power of Attorney, or that it is to take effect on the mental incapacity or infirmity of the donor
This type of Power of Attorney "endures" if you become mentally incapable, so a family member could use it to continue looking after your finances after you have a stroke, or get Alzheimer's, or go into a coma after an accident, or whatever.
The Enduring Power of Attorney also has one important limitation - it does not authorise your agent (your "attorney") to make decisions about the medical treatment you will get if you become mentally incapable of making decisions yourself.