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An enduring power of attorney is a legal document wherein you give someone else the right to act on your behalf. The matters that this person might handle are your financial affairs and your property on your behalf if you become incapable.
The most common form of an enduring power of attorney is known as springing power of attorney. In a springing power of attorney, the person you appoint as attorney would have no power until a certain event occurs, most commonly an inability for you to act on you own behalf. If you become incapable of acting for yourself due to injury or illness, your attorney would generally have the authority to deal with matters relating to your estate.
If there is no enduring power of attorney in place when you become mentally incapable of acting for yourself, then a court application must be made in order for someone to be your trustee and to deal with your estate.
This application often incurs a continuing considerable expense, and may result in someone you do not know having the authority act on your behalf.
Any power of attorney, including an enduring power of attorney, becomes void in the event of your death. At that time the will would take over, and the executor named in your will would ensure that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes.
Special power of attorney is a similar document to an enduring power of attorney, but is generally used for a specific purpose.
If you are leaving the country for a period of time and wish to appoint someone to deal with your finances or property in you absence, you may wish to have a special power of attorney drafted. This is particularly important if you need to buy, sell or refinance a property while you are away.
Unlike an enduring power of attorney, a special power of attorney will cease to have any effect if you become incapacitated.
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