An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is an extremely useful legal instrument that enables a person to choose somebody that can be trusted to make financial decisions when they no longer have the mental capacity to do so.
But is the law that governs EPAs out of date? The South Australian Law Reform Institute (SALRI) thinks so; it wants to see improvements in order to better safeguard the well-being of vulnerable people. SALRI is an independent body based at the University of Adelaide. Amongst other things, it considers which of our laws could do with an overhaul and makes recommendations to the Government.
EPAs are created by the process described in The Powers of Attorney and Agency Act 1984; however, this law is over 35 years old, it pre-dates the digital age. There is now more scope for an attorney to misuse his/her powers and/or to use them fraudulently.
SARLI is looking at comparable laws in other states, consulting with our community and interested parties; it will then compile a report and make recommendations to the Government. The report will be delivered in December 2020, the community consultation will end at 5pm, on Friday 4 September 2020
If you would like to be involved, the following link will take you to SALRI’s Your Say portal where you will find instructions on how to send in your views via several Questionnaires. This works best if you read the brief Facts Sheets first.
If you have a personal experience of a situation where an EPA has been used to perpetrate financial abuse then you can email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org or even use this address to request a call back. Actual case examples are a powerful way of illustrating the consequences and harm caused when EPAs are abused. Your example can be anonymised.
If you need support to tell your story, then you can contact us on (08) 8340 4450 and ask for Huw Owen.