Enduring Power of Attorney
How can I protect my assets in the event that I lose capacity?
Assets can only be protected prior to losing capacity and not after the event. The most appropriate way is to appoint a person or organisation in whom you have trust, to manage your legal and financial affairs.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document which enables you to give another person or organisation, the legal authority to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf, while you are still alive. A decision to put an Enduring Power of Attorney in place can only be made whilst you are of sound mind and still capable of performing these functions yourself. The person you appoint is known as the attorney or donee and this person or persons, must sign an acceptance of the appointment.
Why have an Enduring Power of Attorney?
The time to consider an Enduring Power of Attorney is when you are healthy, aware and in full control. Unfortunately, apart from old age, most situations where you might need an Enduring Power of Attorney happen quickly and without warning. An Enduring Power of Attorney must be signed while you still have legal capacity and will remain effective, even though you may subsequently suffer loss of capacity due to disability or illness. Once you lose capacity through disability or illness, an Enduring Power of Attorney cannot be signed.
When does it Commence?
An Enduring Power of Attorney can commence immediately upon entering into the arrangement, if that is your wish. If however, it is your desire for an Enduring Power of Attorney to commence only when, or if, it becomes necessary, the document can be written to reflect your wishes. For example, you may require your attorney to obtain a statement from two independent medical practitioners, indicating there is serious doubt about your capacity to make financial and legal decisions, before the Enduring Power of Attorney can commence.
When does it Cease?
An Enduring Power of Attorney ceases on your death, the bankruptcy of you or your attorney, the retirement of your attorney, or you may revoke it at any time, providing you are of sound mind.
What is ‘Sound Mind’?
This is the term used to describe a person’s ability to be aware of, and understand fully, the nature and implications of the documentation they are signing. Should any doubts arise about legal capacity, or a person being of ‘sound mind’, a medical report will be obtained confirming the person’s ability to conduct his or her business or financial affairs.
Who should you choose as your Attorney?
Being an attorney is demanding and requires special skills. You should choose someone in whose abilities you have complete confidence. This person should have the time availability, must be able to make impartial decisions and be able to keep accurate financial records.
The Advantages of selecting the Public Trustee as your Attorney.
Appointing the Public Trustee for the Northern Territory as your attorney, gives you the satisfaction of knowing that should the need arise, your affairs will be handled with proven experience, sound judgement and with your best interests at heart. The Public Trustee is an independent and impartial organisation, well experienced in trust management. Our permanence ensures continuity in the administration of your financial and legal affairs. As your attorney, the Public Trustee will do such things as pay your rates and taxes, hospital, medical and other personal and household accounts, look after your banking and manage your real estate and investments.
What if you choose a Private Attorney?
A private attorney is under no legal obligation to report to any other person or body, about the management of your affairs. This may leave you vulnerable to mismanagement. By appointing the Public Trustee as your attorney, your financial affairs will be subject to regular scrutiny as well as internal and external auditing.
How do I make an appointment to have my Enduring Power of Attorney drafted?
To make an appointment to have an Enduring Power of Attorney drafted appointing the Public Trustee for the Northern Territory as your attorney or substitute attorney, please ring 8999 7271. Once a time and date has been allocated, a Personal Details form will be sent to you for completion and return at your appointment.
What legislation is applicable?