Choosing your attorney

Choosing your attorney

If illness or injury affect your ability to make decisions about your life, enduring powers of attorney (EPAs) mean a family member, trusted friend or specialist organisation can make these decisions for you.

They’re called an attorney, and choosing the right person for the job requires careful consideration. This video can help.

Some tips for choosing your personal care or property attorney

  • Choose a trusted family member, friend or independent specialist organisation.
  • Choose someone who knows what you would want and will always act in your best interests.
  • It’s best to choose someone who lives nearby or at least in the same country.
  • They need to agree to the role and understand what is involved. You can share this page with them.

Can an attorney be changed?

If the donor is mentally capable, they can revoke an EPA or an attorney’s appointment at any time by written notice.

What can an attorney do? What decisions can an attorney make?

  • A personal care and welfare attorney can immediately hold authority to deal with minor personal care and welfare matters if it is believed on reasonable grounds that the donor is mentally incapable of doing so.
  • Before dealing with any significant matters, a personal care and welfare attorney must obtain a medical certificate from a doctor whose practice includes assessments of mental capacity. This is to show that the donor is mentally incapable of acting for themselves.
  • When the authority is used, the attorney will need to provide a certified copy of the EPA together with a declaration of non-revocation (which declares that the donor is alive and has not withdrawn the appointment) to any institution or agency the attorney is dealing with.
  • For a property EPA, a donor can appoint two or more attorneys under a joint authority, and both attorneys must agree before performing any action. No joint authority is possible under a personal care and welfare EPA, and the attorney must be an individual.

Do spouses automatically have enduring powers of attorney?

No, spouses don't automatically have enduring powers of attorney. That's why we recommend appointing them legally by making an EPA if you decide your spouse is the right person for this.

Take the next step

Make an appointment online, call us on 0800 371 471 or find out more about EPAs and about roles and responsibilities of an attorney.