By Kim Jubb
When seeing clients about preparing an Enduring Power of Attorney document the question often arises as to how many Attorneys should be appointed. An Enduring Power of Attorney is an important document that appoints trusted people to act for you if you become incapacitated or cannot act on your own behalf for some other reason.
Often clients will simply nominate their spouse as their Attorney but, to cover unexpected contingencies, it is wise to consider appointing alternative Attorneys to act in the event that your first choice is not available for some reason or if any of your Attorneys may have passed away.
Equally important is the manner in which your Attorneys act and there are a number of variations that may be appropriate to individual circumstances, including Attorneys acting separately, jointly or by a majority. It is important to carefully consider and discuss your choices to ensure that you understand what will happen if things do not go to plan.
When appointing Attorneys it is also important to recognise that the people you choose will also need to read the document and understand their role (and their priority with other Attorneys) when deciding whether to accept that appointment. For that reason we encourage clients to speak with the people that they propose to appoint to firstly ask whether they are prepared to do so and also to explain how they expect the appointment to operate.
Disputes relating to the operation of Enduring Powers of Attorney occur all too frequently and many of these could easily be resolved by careful consideration as to how they will operate and by obtaining advice from a Solicitor who is experienced in this area.