3 FAQs about enduring powers of attorney

One of the most important aspects of estate planning is appointing an enduring power of attorney. In a nutshell, a power of attorney is a formal legal document which grants another person the authority to make legally binding decisions on your behalf.

These considerations can help choose the ideal person for this important role: 

What is the difference between a general and enduring power of attorney?

The former applies to financial decision making for a specific event or period of time. For instance, you may choose someone to act on your behalf whilst you are abroad and bills need to be paid. In this context, the person you appoint makes decisions that affect you, even though you are capable of making them yourself.

The latter, however, is when you may lose capability to act rationally, for instance as a result of a cognitive health condition. In this instance, the individual you choose gains responsibility for making financial and personal decisions in your stead. 

How does a power of attorney differ from an executor?

Under Queensland Law, the former only has power whilst you are alive. Conversely, the person named as the executor of your will has legal power once you are deceased. They have to administer your wishes as expressed in your will, including responsibilities like distributing assets. 

What kinds of tasks can I appoint to my enduring power of attorney? 

In addition to financial responsibilities, you may also assign health care duties. A recent study by the University of Missouri found that individuals are increasingly providing written instructions for end-of-life care as well as their preferences on health care.

Their appointed power of attorney is notified, enabling their wishes for their body to be respected even in times of sickness. 

If you are currently facing health issues, or have a strong idea of how you would like to be cared for in the event of a medical problem, consulting with expert lawyers throughout the estate planning process can help add such criteria to your will.