Have you been asked to act as an Enduring Power of Attorney? It is important if you take on this role that you are aware of your responsibilities.

You are required by law to act honestly and with reasonable care to protect the interests of the person you are acting for.

This includes things like encouraging the person’s self-reliance and taking into account their values. It’s important to respect the person’s human worth, dignity and basic rights and the right to confidentiality.

Health matters also have their own specific set of responsibilities, such as choosing the least restrictive treatment options as well as taking into account the person’s wishes and the doctor’s advice.

When making decisions, if the principal has other attorneys, you must consult with them regularly and discuss your decisions. Decisions must be made unanimously.

There are also a specific set of responsibilities to familiarise yourself with, such as keeping records, avoiding transactions that involve conflict of interest and involving the principal’s dependants in decisions.

When taking on the responsibility of Power of Attorney, consider when your power will come into effect, how long you will hold that responsibility and how this power can be removed. This can be different depending on whether it is for personal and health matters or financial.

Although there is no time limit on an Enduring Power of Attorney, certain actions by you, the principal or the Court/Guardianship Tribunal can bring your power to an end.

This can range from deciding not to be the attorney any longer, becoming the principal’s paid carer or health provider or becoming bankrupt or insolvent. The principal also has the right to revoke your power if they are not impaired. You may also be removed from changes in circumstance such as marriage and divorce.

While Enduring Power of Attorney you can also be held liable if you know, or have reason to believe, the power has been changed or revoked.


Partners Kelly Dwyer, Chris Parker and Edwina Rowan lead the team at Charltons Lawyers, Bundaberg’s longest-serving law firm.