• Trustees Private Wealth

Nov 20, 2022

Protect yourself and protect your family with Enduring Powers of Attorney

Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) are essential tools for people of any age, in order to manage property and personal care and welfare in the event of an accident or serious illness. Despite this, the idea that a joint bank account can eliminate the need for an EPA remains a common misconception. After all, the problems associated with not having an EPA tend only to surface when it’s too late.

In the event of an accident, or an incapacitating illness, a joint bank account can provide a loved one access to some of your funds, but it doesn’t provide solutions to the fundamental issues that EPAs are meant to solve. Specifically, EPAs are designed to allow a person to appoint another – an attorney – to act on their behalf. This is essential to ensure that all of your personal and financial affairs can be managed efficiently, cost effectively, and in accordance with your wishes in the event that you are no longer able to do so yourself.

An EPA is about much more than money

A joint bank account only provides the other person on it the ability to access the funds on that particular account. An EPA, on the other hand, allows the appointed person to effectively act as another in a much broader sense. This provides them with the necessary authority to manage the person’s affairs. To many, this sounds like a tool that’s mainly useful for the elderly, but it’s actually just as important for young people. After all, illnesses and accidents can strike anyone.

Making sure that decisions can be made and implemented quickly

There are two different types of EPAs. The first allows the appointed attorney to manage a person’s property on their behalf, while the other empowers them to make decisions about their personal care and welfare. Both are essential to have for different reasons. In the event of an accident or illness, it might become necessary for loved ones to make critical and life-altering decisions. This is a problem, because not even a spouse can act for you if they haven’t been legally appointed to act in the interest of your personal care and welfare. Instead, they’ll need to apply to Family Court, which is not only time consuming, but also expensive.

Your property attorney, on the other hand, can quickly step in to manage property and financial matters. This might be matters as complex as managing your investment portfolio, or mundane issues like liaising with utilities companies. Without an EPA, each of these tasks becomes a bureaucratic and financial burden for your loved ones.

EPAs are essential in estate planning

When it comes to estate planning, most people think only of their Will. This is an essential tool that legally clarifies your final wishes, and determines how your assets should be distributed upon your death. However, Wills only come into effect after you die and don’t address what should happen to your assets if you were to become unable to make decisions due to age, illness, or injury.

This is where EPAs come in. A property EPA allows your attorney to manage your financial affairs during your lifetime in accordance with your wishes. That doesn’t just involve paying bills, or selling property, but may also mean making investments, and managing your estate to prevent its devaluation after your incapacitation.

EPAs may also benefit those who which to appoint someone before they become incapacitated, to take care of their property and finances if they intend to travel for extended periods.

How Trustees Executors can help

While Trustees Executors is not able to be appointed an attorney for personal care and welfare matters for our clients, we can act as a property attorney. We work with our clients to ensure that their financial goals are met, and that their affairs are looked after in accordance with their wishes – even when they can’t do so themselves anymore. If you’d like to learn more about how EPAs can benefit you, please talk to one of our Private Wealth team today.

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