This is a common sentiment, and, in many situations, families do indeed do the right thing for those who trust them. Life however is often complicated by the fact that people don’t always see things the same way and rather than letting family members sort things out amongst themselves, each perhaps having a different understanding of what your intentions are, you can make things easier for them by appointing Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA).
Commonly those appointed as EPA are family members. While you may appoint several family members for the formal roles you can also make provision for other family members or other interested parties to be consulted about important decisions that need to be made. You should also appoint successor attorneys; that is, a person or persons who can step into the role/s if your original attorneys are unable or unwilling to act for you.
Before you choose someone, talk with them first about what your expectations would be for your personal care/welfare and financial/property matters. Choose someone you trust and who is best suited to the role. Your attorney for personal care and welfare may be different to the one you choose for financial and property matters. Then again, one person may be suited to act in both roles.
Other people may not want to appoint family members however, for a variety of reasons and so they may choose a close friend or even someone independent (such as specialist lawyer, accountant or trustee company) to act on their behalf instead.
Finally, a very important point - If you lose mental capacity and you have not appointed an EPA/EPOA, your family or others concerned with your wellbeing must make an application to the Family Court for the appointment of a person or persons to act for you. This process comes with an emotional and financial cost, is complicated, must be repeated at prescribed intervals, and there is no guarantee that the person appointed will be the one you may have preferred as your attorney.
This information is of a general nature. It is not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose. It is not an alternative to legal advice and does not replace any requirements under any relevant Act, Regulations, Code of Practice, Rule, Standards or Orders. While we have endeavoured to ensure this information is accurate and as useful as possible, we accept no responsibility, loss or liability resulting from the use of this information. We urge you to seek appropriate or professional advice on all issues such as this.