Enduring power of attorney stories

What can happen if you don’t have an enduring power of attorney?

Sally and Jake have been married for 10 years. They have two children and jointly held bank accounts, a home mortgage, and the usual bills.

Sally was hit by a car when walking to the shops. She suffered an ongoing loss of decision-making capacity, which resulted in large medical bills. Sally and Jake’s home was no longer suitable for Sally’s accessibility needs.

Even though Sally and Jake were married, their house could not be sold unless Jake was granted the role of formal decision maker through a hearing with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

What can happen if you are single without an enduring power of attorney?

Michael was 19 and had a well-paid job in the mining sector. He had a mortgage and was paying off a car.

After a work accident, Michael was in a coma for almost four months.

Luckily, he regained consciousness and capacity to manage his affairs.

During the time Michael was incapacitated, it was very difficult for his family to pay his bills, make mortgage payments and manage his finances, because the bank would not let his parents access his accounts without a valid enduring power of attorney or QCAT order.

What can happen if you don’t have an accountability clause in your enduring power of attorney?

Joan made an enduring power of attorney herself by filling out a form and having it witnessed. She made her eldest daughter her attorney, as her son was living overseas.

Joan later became incapable of decision-making.

Unknown to Joan, her daughter was syphoning off money for years to pay for her children’s school fees.

If Joan had included an accountability clause, her son would have had authority to be informed of the state of her financial affairs.

If Joan’s son did not receive an accounting in line with the accountability clause, he would have been able to raise this matter with QCAT.

What can happen if you don’t have a consultation clause in your enduring power of attorney?

Paul made an enduring power of attorney when he made his Will. He made Valerie, his de facto partner of three years, his attorney for health, personal and financial matters. Paul thought that as they were living together, it was the right thing to do.

When Paul had a stroke and lost capacity for decision making, Valerie decided to move them to the coast. Once there, she arranged for Paul’s care in a local nursing home.

Paul’s adult children, with whom he had a close and happy relationship, were adamant that he would not have wanted to move to the coast, let alone move into a nursing home. They were very distressed, claiming that a way should have been found for Paul to live in his own home or at least in the same town as his family and grandchildren.

If Paul had included a consultation clause in his enduring power of attorney or appointed more than one attorney to safeguard his best interests, his children would have had some input or a clear say in his future life decisions.

What if I don’t have anyone suitable to appoint as my enduring power of attorney?

If you don’t have suitable family members or a friend to appoint as your enduring power of attorney, you can appoint the Public Trustee to manage your financial affairs and the Public Guardian to manage your personal and health matters.

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Last published: 18/06/2019 10:11:11 PM