An EPOA should always be considered in the wider context of an estate plan

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An EPOA needs to form part of a wider estate plan.

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) is a document where a principal (a person or company) appoints an individual or individuals (called the attorney) to act for the principal in relation to financial affairs, property matters and, in some States, lifestyle matters such as medical treatment or where the principal lives and how they should be cared for.

The most common situation where an EPOA may be used is in cases where a person no longer has mental capacity to make their own decisions usually because of deteriorating health.

An EPOA may also be useful regarding an SMSF if a director of a corporate trustee has to go overseas for an extended period of time.

The Attorney who has been validly appointed by the director may step in, manage and control the affairs of the SMSF whilst that director is overseas.

Having an EPOA in place can also help alleviate any stress, delays and further costs that may arise in the event that a family member has become incapacitated and can no longer appoint a person as their preferred Attorney.

It is also worth noting that the requirements to have an EPOA differ in each state.

So in order to be prepared for the unexpected, it is not only important to have a valid EPOA document executed but to also regularly review the document to ensure it reflects the Principal’s current wishes and circumstances.

An EPOA should also always be considered in the wider context of an estate plan.

By Natasha Ng, Solicitor

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