From 30 November 2020 new Enduring Power of Attorney (“EPA”) (short and long form) and Advance Health Directive forms have come into effect as a result of changes to Guardianship Laws in Queensland. These new forms will replace the existing versions that have been in place for more than 16 years.
Enduring Power of Attorney
The short form EPA is used when you want to appoint the same person, or combination of persons, as your attorney(s) for both financial and personal/health matters. The long form EPA is used when you want to appoint a different person(s) for your financial matters and a different person(s) for your personal/health matters.
An EPA allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions for you during your lifetime. An attorney can make decisions about:-
- Personal matters – These matters relate to personal or lifestyle decisions. This includes decisions about support services, where and with whom you live, health care and legal matters that do not relate to your financial or property matters; and/or
- Financial matters – These matters relate to your financial or property affairs including paying expenses, making investments, selling property or carrying on a business.
The reforms clarify the capacity required of an adult making an enduring document. The adult must:-
- Understand the nature and effect of the document; and
- Be capable of making it freely and voluntarily.
This is to ensure that the adult making the enduring document not only understands the legal and practical effect of making the documents but also does so without pressure from others.
The new forms also include a new section which allows you to state your views, wishes and preferences. While this section allows for you to express your desires, they are not binding on an attorney. However, an attorney must consider your views when making decisions.
The reforms will also limit the number of joint attorneys that can be appointed under an enduring power of attorney for a matter to 4.
Advance Health Directive
An Advance Health Directive allows you to give directions about your future healthcare. This form can also be used to appoint an attorney(s) for health matters.
If you are considering completing these forms, or have any concerns on whether these changes affect you, we recommend you book an appointment with one of our solicitors as these are important legal documents that can significantly affect your legal rights.