EPA attorney's role and responsibilities

You've been chosen as an attorney of an EPA. What are your role and responsibilities?

What is an attorney of an enduring power of attorney?

The role and responsibilities of a property or personal care and welfare attorney under an EPA is set out in the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988.

An attorney’s responsibilities can be difficult and time-consuming, so it’s important to be fully informed on the scope of the role before accepting an appointment.

What obligations do I have as someone’s attorney?

The obligations under the Act require the attorney to consult with the donor if practicable when using the authority.

They may also be required to consult with another attorney or provide relevant information on decisions to other people specified in the EPA.

In the case of a property attorney, a donor can specify for certain people to see the financial records and information showing how the authority has been used. Failure to provide these may incur a fine of up to $1,000.

Above all else, the attorney must act in the donor’s best interests.

As a personal care and welfare attorney, what can I not do?

Under the Act, a personal care and welfare attorney does not have authority on behalf of the donor to:

  • make any decisions concerning marriage or civil unions or their dissolution
  • make any decisions relating to the adoption of any of the donor’s children
  • refuse the administration of procedures that would save the donor’s life
  • consent to electro-convulsive treatment
  • consent to forms of brain surgery that will change the donor’s behaviour or damage a portion of their brain
  • consent to experimental surgery other than life-saving surgery

I've been asked to be someone’s EPA for personal care or property. How can I assess if I’ll be the right person for this?

Being an attorney is a valued and responsible duty and you need to consider whether you are willing and able to perform the duties of an attorney under EPA.

Before becoming an attorney, you should talk to the donor about what they might want in various situations, and what their thoughts and feelings are.

You need to consider your age and location – if you are the same age, you may not be able to carry on such a role due to your own health and you also need to consider your location in terms of how it will impact on carrying out your role.

Can I resign from my attorney’s appointment?

If the donor is mentally capable, you must provide written notice to the donor of your desire to resign from the role. If the donor is mentally incapable, you must lodge notice at the nearest Family Court.