There is a widely held belief that if you lose the mental capacity to handle your own affairs, your next of kin will be able to make decisions on in respect of your property and welfare. This is not true. To enable someone to have the power to make decisions and act on your behalf you need to execute enduring powers of attorney.
There are two types of enduring powers of attorney.
- Property – giving someone the power to deal with your property. Property means anything you own. For example, your home and personal effects, bank accounts and investments, shares and businesses.
- Personal Care and Welfare – giving someone the power to make decisions on your care and welfare matters. For example what medical treatment you receive or where you live.
If you do not have enduring powers of attorney and you lose the capacity to handle your own affairs, someone will need to apply to the Family Court to be appointed as your to make decisions on your behalf. In that event, you lose the ability to select the person to act on your behalf. It is also takes longer and is more expensive.
Loss of capacity can affect anyone, it is not only due to Dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can be a consequence of stroke or car accident.
Our specialist Elder Law team can go through your personal circumstances with you and assist with preparing enduring powers of attorney. If you wish to speak to one of our lawyers about enduring powers of attorney contact Wendy Dewes.