The law in relation to Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) changed on 16 March 2017. Before I have a look at the changes, let’s go back to the basics.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
There are two types:
- Personal Care and Welfare – This EPA relates to your health and personal wellbeing. You can only appoint one attorney at a time, plus a substitute.
- Property – This EPA relates to your property, in other words, anything that requires your signature. Your attorney will be able to sign documents for you, deal with your bank accounts, utility bills, etc. One or two attorneys can be appointed at the same time, with substitutes.
What if I don’t have EPAs?
If you become mentally incapable without EPAs then it may be necessary for your next of kin to apply to the Family Court for an Order under the Protection of Property Rights Act to act on your behalf. As you can imagine, Court applications are expensive and time consuming. It is far more economical and sensible to spend the money now and sign EPAs.
What changed on 16 March 2017?
- The documents have increased considerably in length. The entire documents, including instructions and certificates, are a whopping 22 pages long for Property, and 15 pages long for Personal Care and Welfare!!
- You can now provide full addresses, contact details including an email address for your Attorneys.
- There is also provision for you to name someone for your Attorney to provide information to. This person will keep an eye on your Attorney.
- Your Attorney can use your property for their own benefit, if you allow it.
- Your Attorney can also make gifts to people, if you allow it. These gifts can be specified.
- Your Attorney must keep a record of each financial transaction they enter into on your behalf. Failure to do so is an offence for which your Attorney can be prosecuted and fined.
- There is now provision for you to revoke any previous EPAs you may have signed in the past.
- The provision for specific instructions to your Attorney is clearer.
- The need to obtain independent legal advice has changed. In some circumstances, your lawyer may be able to witness your signature and that of your spouse.
What about my current EPAs?
If you have completed signed and dated EPAs prior to 16 March 2017, then these documents are still valid.
Where to from here?
Enduring Powers of Attorney are onerous and lengthy documents. Please discuss your requirements with your lawyer at KW Legal who will be happy to help.
Note: Katherine’s Blog is not a substitute for legal advice, please contact your lawyer.