Consider whether to accept appointment

Before you sign the form accepting the grant of the power of attorney in your favour you need to carefully consider whether you should be doing this.  It will be far easier if there is an overall PLAN that has been addressed and the enduring power of attorney has been drafted in such a way as to give effect to the overall PLAN.

As a preliminary matter, it is in your interests to ensure that the day nor has full legal capacity at the time of making the enduring power of attorney.  If there is any doubt, it would be in your interest to have a capacity assessment.  What you want to avoid is making in carrying out decisions in relation to finances, only to find work without authority because there was no valid appointment in the first place!

The Public Advocate (in the EPA information kit) recommends of the following questions be addressed when considering acceptance -

  • Do I know the donor well enough to make decisions that would be in line with their wishes and beliefs, and the decisions they would make for themselves?
  • Do I have a good understanding of the donor's finances?
  • Do I know how to gain information about the donor's property and finances including investments?
  • Do I have a good understanding of how to maintain records of expenditure, in case I am ever required to produce these records?
  • Do I understand what I would be required to do and am I confident I could carry out the role?
  • If I am being asked to be appointed as a joint attorney, can I work with the other attorney to make decisions in the donor's best interests?
  • If I am being asked to be appointed as a joint and several attorney, can I work effectively with the other joint and several attorney to ensure we make decisions in the donor's best interests?
  • If the donor has made an enduring power of guardianship, can I work with their enduring guardian?
  • Has the donor given me copies of, or advised where they store, other documents relevant to decision making such as their enduring power of guardianship and advance health directive (if they have made these powers)?
  • Do I understand the obligations that I have as an attorney?

A properly constructed and documented PLAN would make answering these questions much easier than would otherwise be the case.

Whilst these questions may be a guide to the general type of questions that should be considered, there will be particular circumstances unique to each situation which will need to be considered.  It requires a careful look at the circumstances concerning family and relatives, the particular set of financial circumstances that exist and what is likely to have to be done in the future.  Are you the person who should do this?.

Other questions that might be relevant -

  • Do I have the time available to do the tasks that are likely to be required?
  • Do I feel confident about my ability to make good decisions?
  • Who else should I consult about accepting such an appointment?
  • Should I seek professional advice before I accept the appointment?
  • Do I see any potential conflicts of interest that could arise in the future?