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Enduring Power of Attorney

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint a person or organisation to manage your financial and property affairs if you lose the capacity to make independent and informed decisions. This could occur during a medical emergency or as a result of an age-related condition. Importantly, an EPA does not authorise an attorney to make personal, lifestyle, or medical decisions. For these types of decisions, you would need an Enduring Power of Guardianship.

Should you consider an EPA?

There are many ways you can become physically unable to see to your property and finances or lose your decision-making capacity. For example, both scenarios can arise through old age or through an accident and you cannot predict when or if they may occur. If either scenario occurs and you have an EPA in place, you can be assured that your attorney will make decisions with your best interests in mind.

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How HHG can help

There are specific rules around the preparation and signing of EPAs. As such, they should be prepared and witnessed by a suitably qualified professional. We can help you through this process and cater the EPA to your specific circumstances. For over a century, we’ve provided proactive, up-to-date legal advice, ensuring our client’s estate plans are secure and ready to withstand any challenge. If you require any assistance, reach out to one of our 5 offices around Perth and regional WA so that our staff may assist you.

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What to consider when choosing an attorney

When choosing an attorney, above all, the most important consideration is whether they are trustworthy and will always act in your best interest.

If you are married or have a de facto partner, your choice of attorney will impact them. You may want to consider appointing your spouse or de facto partner as a sole or joint attorney, as appointing someone else will give them the authority to make property and financial decisions that could affect your partner.

  • If you are considering appointing a family member as your attorney, ensure that:
  • They are willing to take on the responsibilities of the role.
  • They have the skills that they would need for the role.
  • Your choice will create conflict within your family.
  • They live close enough to properly attend to the role.

The responsibilities of your chosen attorney

When choosing an attorney, you need to fully understand the extent of their responsibilities. Although they cannot make personal, lifestyle, or medical decisions, they still have significant control over your lifestyle if the EPA is enacted. Your attorney will be responsible for making all financial and property decisions on your behalf. This includes operating bank accounts, managing property and investments, handling business interests, and overseeing legal affairs such as contracts, taxes, and Centrelink benefits.

Enduring Power of Attorney FAQs

Completing the enduring power of attorney form

In Western Australia, the process of setting up an enduring power of attorney is relatively straight forward.

Step 1: Download the EPA information kit 
Step 2: Choose your attorney/s

You can appoint anyone as your attorney if they are 18 years of age or older and have full legal capacity. You have the option of appointing one attorney as a sole attorney, or two attorneys as either joint attorneys (they must act together and agree on all decisions) or joint and several attorneys (they can make decisions together or independently).

Step 3: Choose your substitute attorneys (optional)

While not required, you may wish to also appoint a substitute attorney who can act as your attorney if your originally appointed attorney is ever unavailable, unsuitable, or unable to perform the role.

As with your EPA, when choosing a substitute attorney, you have the option of a sole substitute attorney, or two substitute attorneys either as joint attorneys (they must act together and agree on all decisions) or as joint and several attorneys (they can make decisions together or independently).

Step 4: Complete the EPA form from the WA government website

Complete the form found at the end of Enduring Power of Attorney information kit on the WA Government website. You will just need to ensure that both the attorney and a witness sign the forms.

In most cases we strongly advise that you seek legal advice from an estate lawyer before completing the EPA form, especially if you have special conditions you would like to implement, a large estate, or a complicated family situation (such as blended families with children from previous relationships)

Step 5: Provide a copy of your EPA to all relevant people involved.

As there is no register for enduring powers of attorney in Western Australia, it is in your best interest to ensure all relevant people are provided with a copy of your enduring power of attorney.

If you own property, we recommend that you also lodge your enduring power of attorney with Landgate in case property transactions need to be handled by your attorney in the future. Create two originals at the time of signing to keep one and lodge the other within three months. If not lodged and you lose capacity, additional steps involving a Statutory Declaration or a Tribunal Order are required for transactions.

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If you have any questions about enduring powers of attorney, please use the form on the right and one of our staff will respond as soon as possible.