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Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney. What’s the difference?

Unless you have completed a law degree, you probably find legal jargon quite confusing (join the club). Here are the differences between two important legal documents – in plain English!

September 15, 2022

A Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney are legal documents which give one person the power to act for another person in some circumstances. 4 legal documents every adult should consider

More than one attorney can be appointed and both documents must be signed by an independent witness.

Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney may be used for situations such as:

  • Buying and selling property if you are away on holiday.
  • Operating a bank account if you are in hospital.

To appoint power or attorney or enduring power of attorney, you must have ‘full legal capacity’:

  • This means you must understand any legal documents you are completing or have completed, and your property and financial affairs. 
  • People can lose legal capacity due to dementia, stroke, being in a coma, mental illness, accident, trauma, acquired brain injury, or for other reasons.

Differences

  • A power of attorney is no longer valid when the person who appointed the attorney loses legal capacity.
  • An enduring power of attorney remains valid after the person who appointed the attorney loses legal capacity.
  • When a person makes an Enduring Power of Attorney, they can choose for their attorney’s authority to start immediately or only if they lose capacity.

Power of attorney and enduring power or attorney does not apply to personal and lifestyle decisions, including decisions about treatment and medical research. The authority of the attorney is limited to decisions about property and financial affairs. What is estate planning?

You should always seek independent legal advice if you are considering giving power or attorney or enduring power of attorney to someone.

Sources:
Legal Aid WA
Government of WA

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