Queensland Law Society

EPA decisions require wisdom without sentiment

Date 13 Jul 2013
Contact Natalie Graeff, Communications Manager
Phone (07) 3842 5868
Mobile 0488 433 884
Fax 07 3221 9329
Email n.graeff@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society today warned people to be careful when signing Enduring Powers of Attorney, noting the issue is receiving increased public attention.

President Annette Bradfield said an Enduring Power of Attorney, or EPA, is a legal document that you use to give someone else the power to make personal or financial decisions for you.

“Because of the broad powers given to an attorney, it is crucial to seek legal advice from a solicitor before making an EPA to ensure you fully understand its implications and choose a responsible and trusted person to act on your behalf,” Ms Bradfield said.

“Exploitation of EPAs is linked to elder abuse.

“Elder abuse is receiving increased focus as the population ages, with trends from the Office of Economic and Statistical Research showing we have more Queenslanders aged over 45 than we did in 1992.

“Complicating the issue can be an unwillingness or inability of the victim to report the abuse and older people with impaired capacity are unlikely to recognise certain behaviour as abuse.

“There have been a number of options aired for how we might deal with financial elder abuse, it is not a simple problem with a simple solution.

“We need to thoroughly investigate the best way to proceed to ensure a practical outcome for protection of the vulnerable.  

“The starting point is to seek advice from your solicitor about EPAs and to carefully choose who you appoint as your attorney.”