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Financial Enduring Power of Attorney

A financial Enduring Power of Attorney is very similar to a regular EPOA, except they have strict powers to only handle financial matters on behalf of someone.

Key Points:

  • A financial Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) only has powers over the finances of an individual

  • You can choose how much power the chosen Attorney has over your finances or financial matters

  • Even if you lose capacity and your finances are handled by your financial EPOA, they cannot use your finances for personal gain in any way

Woman helping older woman with her documents.
Asking someone to handle your personal finances is a big ask, you need to choose a trustworthy person as your financial EPOA. [Source: Shutterstock]

When you are concerned about the potential of losing the capacity to make decisions for yourself, it can be a good idea to set up an Enduring Power of Attorney.

You can give your Enduring Power of Attorney power over financial decisions, personal matters, or you can give your Attorney the power to do both of these things. 

How a financial Enduring Power of Attorney differs

If you want to just provide one trusted person with the responsibility of your finances instead of all other personal matters, then your chosen Enduring Power of Attorney will be limited to financial matters only.

You can still choose another Enduring Power of Attorney to handle the personal matters on your behalf.

Or you can have multiple Attorneys as your financial EPOA to make decisions together on your behalf. 

If you allow it, the chosen financial EPOA’s can make decisions without consulting each other. This could be helpful if one Attorney is away on holiday or if there is an emergency.

Even if you give powers to your Attorney to handle your financial affairs, you have the ability to make it as all-inclusive or restricted as you wish.

For example, you may want to continue paying your own bills, while your Attorney handles your other finances.

Or, you can even set the Attorney privileges for a set amount of time. Say you have a big surgery and don’t feel up to paying medical bills along with your normal bills. You can nominate for your financial EPOA to handle your finances for a couple of months until you are well enough again to look after this yourself.

However, the “Enduring” part of the EPOA document means the appointed Attorney would take effect again if you lost capacity permanently. If you want an Attorney to only come into effect during a certain amount of time, it might be better to set someone as a Power of Attorney (POA) instead of an Enduring Power of Attorney.

You can change, or revoke, your current Attorney from their position by filing the change with your local Public Trustee or Advocate. A written letter needs to be provided to your former Attorney saying they are no longer your Attorney. Both the written letter and revoking form needs to be witnessed as well.

If you want to provide temporary powers, you can instead choose someone to be your Power of Attorney.

Financial powers that an EPOA can be responsible for include, paying taxes, rates or insurance; carrying on trade or business of the individual; dealing with any land the individual owns; paying debts or mortgages; and provide money to the individual.

Additionally, financial EPOA’s could be authorised to handle any legal decisions.

Choosing the right person

Asking someone to handle your personal finances is a big ask. Not only does it require a lot of extra work through extensive record-keeping of transactions, but it also means they have access to all of your money.

Choosing the right person as your financial EPOA can be incredibly important.

It is illegal to remove funds or use them for personal gain as a financial EPOA. But it doesn’t stop some people. The most common type of elder abuse is financial elder abuse.

To implement a financial EPOA, the rules can change from State to Territory. However, generally, there will need to be two adult witnesses to see the signing of the financial EPOA forms.

Both witnesses cannot be an Attorney or under the power of Attorney, a relative, a care worker or accommodation provider for the individual.

If you don’t have a financial EPOA in place when you lose capacity, a Tribunal or Court will generally appoint someone for you. This could be a close family member or it could be an independent administrator.

Is doing your own finances important to you? Tell us in the comments below.

Related stories:

Financial Advisors
Advance Care Directives
Advocacy

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