Signing an Enduring Power of Attorney

Signing an Enduring Power of Attorney

Signing an Enduring Power of Attorney

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a document that gives one or more people the power to make personal and financial decisions on your behalf when you have lost the capacity to make decisions on your own.

This is a significant power that comes with great responsibility. For example, this means that your attorney could decide what type of medical treatment you receive, or how your finances should be managed.

The importance of an EPA means that there are strict rules around the valid signing of this document.

There are number of people are involved in completing an EPA, and all must comply with the requirements for validly signing the document.

The principal

You, as the principal, are the person for whom the Enduring Power of Attorney form is made. The first section of the EPA form details your appointment of one or more attorneys. At the end of this section, there is a Statement of Understanding. Signing underneath this Statement of Understanding means that you understand the nature and effect of the EPA.

There must be someone who witnesses you signing the form. The witness then also signs underneath the Statement of Understanding. The requirements of the witness are set out in the next section.

If you have a disability that makes you unable to sign your EPA, you may have another person sign for you. However this must be clearly be stated in front of your witness, and the signing must be done in front of both you and the witness.

The person who signs for you must be eighteen years of age or older, and cannot be your witness or one of your attorneys. There is a statement beside the place of their signature which must be completed by them.

The witness

As well as witnessing your signature as set out above, the witness must also complete and sign the Witness’s Certificate in the second section of the EPA form.

This certificate sets out that the witness must either be a justice of peace, a commissioner for declarations, a lawyer or a notary public.

It is important that the witness is truly independent from you, with no conflicts of interest. As such, the witness must certify that they are not your attorney, your relation, or your current paid carer or health care provider (if they are making personal decisions for you).

The witness must also certify that you understand the nature and effect of the EPA form.

Only once all of these requirements have been met and ticked off on the witness’s certificate will the witness’s signature be valid.

The attorney

Your attorney (or attorneys if you have more than one) complete and sign the Attorney’s Acceptance which is in section 3 of the EPA form.

This section sets out that your attorneys must be eighteen years of age or older and cannot be your current paid carer or health care provider. It also sets out that they must understand the responsibility they are being given, and will take on this responsibility.

Once all sections of the EPA form are signed correctly, the EPA form is valid and will be able to come into effect at the time you have stipulated.

It is important to ensure that your Enduring Power of Attorney form is validly signed. If you have any questions arising from this post, please contact one of our expert estate planning lawyers by calling us on 07 3106 3016 or contacting us using the form on this page.

This article does not give legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended to provide general and summary information on legal topics, current at the time of first publication. You should seek professional legal advice before acting or relying on any of the content contained herein.