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Power of Attorney (POA), Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) and Advanced Health Directives (AHD)

There are two types of powers of attorney. The first is a general power of attorney (POA). This allows someone else to make financial decisions on your behalf if you’re not able. It can be set for a specific period. For example; if you’re going to go overseas for a six month holiday then you can set a general power of attorney which will allow someone else to act on your behalf here in Australia whilst you’re overseas. It may be that you’re trying to sell a house over that period of time and a general power of attorney will give the person back here in Australia the ability to make sure that that contract goes through. Importantly, a general power of attorney is only concerning financial decisions. 

The second type is an enduring power of attorney (EPOA). As the name suggests, it is much longer-lived and will stay in place for as long as you want it to. An enduring power of attorney will give someone the ability to make financial decisions but also personal decisions in relation to you. This may include where you will live if you were going to be permanently incapacitated. It is also important to note that it doesn’t address matters such as life support. These issues are covered by an advanced health directive (AHD).