28 Jun POWER OF ATTORNEY AND ADVANCE CARE DIRECTIVE – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
When preparing a Will, confusion often arises when considering whether to also prepare an Advance Care Directive (ACD) or a Power of Attorney (POA). Each of these documents serves a separate yet equally significant purpose, and are important to have in place for the security that each provide.
A POA is useful in situations where you still have capacity (essentially the ability to understand what you are doing) but are otherwise unable to act for yourself, for example if you are overseas or are in hospital. It gives another person, your Attorney or ‘donee’, the authority to deal with your affairs such as purchasing property or operating your bank account. Nominating an Attorney does not mean you lose control of your affairs, and you can always limit their authority. It is important to have a valid and up-to-date POA document in place to ensure that a Court does not appoint someone to look after your affairs if you ever become incapacitated. If you wish your POA to continue despite your loss of capacity, you need an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA).
Alternatively, an ACD allows you to appoint another person to make decisions about your health care and welfare in the event that you become unable to make those decisions in the future. It allows you to set out your wishes for how and where you will live, and lets you nominate the types of medical treatments you may wish to have. If something does go wrong an ACD will ensure you are being cared for in accordance with your own wishes. Although it can be difficult to think about times in the future where these documents may be required, we strongly recommend that if you are over the age of 18 years and have capacity, you should ensure that you have a valid Power of Attorney and Advance Care Directive. Please contact our friendly team at Belperio Clark on (08) 8212 1322 to organise a meeting with one of our Wills and Estates solicitors.