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Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship
Enduring Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document which appoints a person to act on an individual‘s behalf in relation to the appointor’s property and financial affairs. If an attorney is appointed, this does not mean that the individual has given away their own right to make decisions. That individual can continue to make their own financial decisions and deal with their assets. But if they become unable to do so then their attorney can do so for them. With more and more people suffering from mental incapacity, either through age-related dementia, or while suffering a condition that in an earlier time they would not have survived, an enduring power of attorney is vitally important for all of us. We can create a power of attorney that continues to have effect despite the grantor’s mental incapacity – an enduring power of attorney. For added protection we can ensure that the power only takes effect when the grantor loses that mental capacity.
The appointment of an enduring guardian must be in accordance with the requirements of each particular state. In some states it is part of the appointment of a power of attorney, while in others it is separate. An enduring guardianship can be revoked at any time. A power of attorney is generally limited to property rights, while the guardian is more focussed on the appointor’s personal needs. It is important to remember that the lifestyle decisions made by an Enduring Guardian may have financial implications and the financial decisions made under a power of attorney may have lifestyle implications. The attorney and the guardian can be the same person to avoid any confusion or disagreement. Otherwise, they need to work co-operatively together.