Setting up an Enduring Power of Attorney for your super account
Many Australians find they need a little extra help from friends and family to look after their health and finances as they get older. Guardianship and Power of Attorney arrangements can be a simple way to formalise that help. It means you choose who can make important decisions for you and set rules about when they can step in. Read on to learn more about setting up an Enduring Power of Attorney for your super.
Why do I need an Enduring Power of Attorney for my super?
Your super can be worth a substantial amount of money. For many Australians, it’s one of the largest assets they have outside their family home. But as you get older, you may be affected by a range of health issues that make you less able to manage this sizeable pool of money.
Some older Australians may find themselves unable to manage their own affairs at all. In this case, a person appointed under an Enduring Power of Attorney or Enduring Guardian can step in to make important decisions on their behalf.
A tribunal or court can appoint someone to manage your financial or health decisions if you’re deemed unable to manage your affairs on your own. However, you can also arrange these appointments yourself by putting in place an Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian, and specify exactly what authority the appointed person has.
That means you can choose a trusted friend or family member to act in your place, including making important decisions as your attorney about your wealth including super.
Even if you have granted someone an Enduring Power of Attorney, you still have the right to make decisions for yourself, or to dismiss them as your Attorney, so long as you have the capacity to do so.
What’s the difference between an Attorney and a Guardian?
An Attorney and a Guardian have different responsibilities. A person with an Enduring Power of Attorney can make financial decisions and manage some legal affairs. A person who is an Enduring Guardian is placed in charge of someone’s medical care and living arrangements.
How do I set up an Enduring Power of Attorney?
Setting up an Enduring Power of Attorney arrangement is a big decision that can have far-reaching consequences. It’s important to seek legal advice to understand all your options and make sure everyone involved understands the current and future ramifications.
To appoint someone as your Attorney, you’ll need to complete an Enduring Power of Attorney form. These forms are available through a solicitor or your state or territory government’s relevant office:
If you’ve appointed multiple Attorneys, you will need to complete a separate form.
You will also need to supply CFS with a copy of the identifying legal document with each page certified as a ‘true copy’.
The approved certifier should write the following sentence on each page:
“I certify that this page is a true and complete copy of page [insert page number of document] of [insert total number of pages in the document] of the original document which I have sighted.”
If your documents are not properly certified, it will delay the process.
What is the difference between a Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney?
There are two sorts of Power of Attorney – a General Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney.
A General Power of Attorney gives someone the power to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf for a set period of time. It can be used, for example, if you’re travelling overseas for a period and need somebody else to manage your affairs back home. However, a General Power of Attorney will become invalid if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself.
This is where an Enduring Power of Attorney comes in. An Enduring Power of Attorney does not have an expiry date and your chosen Attorney will still be able to manage your affairs if you’re no longer able to. You can also choose when your Enduring Power of Attorney starts to have effect, for example straight away, or only if you’re no longer able to manage your own affairs.
Cost of setting up an Enduring Power of Attorney
The costs and fees associated with setting up an Enduring Power of Attorney differ depending on which state or territory you live in and who you choose to be your Attorney.
You’ll need to factor in your legal costs as well as state or territory government fees.
Important things to remember before setting up an Enduring Power of Attorney
Having a Power of Attorney is a big responsibility and you should take care to choose the right person for the job. The person you choose should be someone you trust to make the right decisions and to always act in your best interests.
Ideally, they should be unlikely to die before you do (especially for an Enduring Power of Attorney arrangement) and be both willing and able to step in if needed.
Keep in mind that you can appoint multiple Attorneys to manage your affairs and grant them the power to make decisions either individually, jointly, or as a majority.
Enduring Attorneys are typically appointed to make decisions when you’re no longer able to do so yourself. However, your decision-making capacity is considered differently depending on what the decision is about. You might be deemed capable to make decisions about your day-to-day spending but not your super, for example.
After you have formally appointed an Attorney or Guardian, you can grant them the authority to make decisions regarding your super.
You can give your Attorney this authority in just four steps:
Information on this webpage is provided by Avanteos Investments Limited ABN 20 096 259 979, AFSL 245531 and Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468. It may include general advice but does not consider your individual objectives, financial situation, needs or tax circumstances. You can find the target market determinations (TMD) for our financial products at www.cfs.com.au/tmd, which include a description of who a financial product might suit. You should read the Financial Services Guide (FSG) available online for information about our services.