What is an AHD?
An enduring power of attorney is an important legal document you can prepare to give someone else the power to make personal or financial decisions on your behalf. A power of attorney enables someone to make legally binding decisions for you while you’re alive and their power ends when you die.
What is an EPOA?
An advance health directive (AHD)—sometimes called a living will—is a formal way to give instructions about your future health care. It comes into effect only if your cognitive health deteriorates and you become unable to make your own decisions. (i.e. lose capacity to make decisions).
You can give specific instructions about certain medical treatments, such as whether you want to receive life-sustaining measures—such as tube feeding or resuscitation—to prolong your life.
You can also outline the quality of life that would be acceptable to you. For example, you might ask that life-sustaining measures be withheld or withdrawn if you have:
- a terminal illness with no known cure or chance of recovery
- severe and irreversible brain damage, and you can’t communicate
- a severe illness or injury that you’ll probably never recover from.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that lets you tell the world who should receive which of your assets after your death. It also allows you to name guardians for any dependent children. Without a Will, the courts decide what happens to your assets and who is responsible for your children.
What sort of decisions can an attorney make for you?
- Personal matters, such as where you live and who you have contact with
- Give consent to most health care issues, including medical and dental treatment and withdrawing or withholding of life-sustaining measures
- Control of your finances, including collecting your income, paying your bills and taxes, selling or renting your home, using your income to pay for your needs or invest your money.
What are an Attorney’s Duties?
Your attorney must:
- act honestly and with care
- recognise your right to confidentiality
- consider your existing supportive relationships, values and culture
- apply the general principles under the Powers of Attorney Act 1998.
In relation to health care decisions, your attorney must:
- ensure any decision made contributes to your health and well-being
- choose the least intrusive method of treatment where possible
- consider your views and wishes
- consider the advice of your doctor or other health care providers
- comply with the health care principles under the Powers of Attorney Act 1998.
In relation to financial matters, your attorney must:
- keep records and accounts of dealings and transactions
- keep your property separate from their own (unless it is owned jointly)
- not give away your property, and make only reasonable gifts for birthdays.
Can you limit the attorney’s powers if you want to?
Yes. You can also provide a start date which may be immediately or on a certain date or event occurring such as in the event of your incapacity.
What is the definition of a Paid Carer?
Someone receiving a private income or separate payment (other than a Centrelink carer’s payment)
Can you have more than one attorney?
Yes, you may appointment as many as you desire.
If you have more than one attorney how can they make decisions about your finances/money?
They can decide either:
- Jointly – meaning unanimously (all are in agreement);
- Jointly and severally
- Or in a particular order of priority
Can you change or revoke the enduring power of attorney?
The power of your attorney ends with your death. If you retain capacity, you may revoke a general power of attorney at any time. You may revoke an enduring power of attorney at any time until you lose capacity. **Please clarify which sentence you want.
Do you require an EPOA and/or AHD to stay in a nursing home?
Some nursing homes will require these documents in advance of confirming availability, however you need to ask the particular nursing home.
A Guide to Enduring Powers of Attorneys and Advanced Health Directives
You can download it here
Seniors Legal and Support Service Case Study
How Did The Client Learn Of Our Service?
Our Client learned of the SLASS service by word of mouth.
Our Client is a man in his 70s who presented with significant anxiety over the state of his financial affairs. He had several outstanding debts from years of financial mismanagement and a recent reduction in income while recovering from a stroke. He had also experienced financial abuse by a former private carer.
The Client expressed concerns about his current living arrangements, where he lacked companionship and social engagement.
SLASS team members conducted a home visit attended by the Client and a close family member. The family member was also a senior receiving a pension and had been a significant source of social and financial support to our Client. The family member was concerned about their capacity to maintain their contributions to supporting our Client.
Our Client reported the financial abuse by the former carer to the Police.
The SLASS Social Worker liaised with a charity-based financial counselling service, which provided free information and guidance to our Client. The financial counselling service will continue to support our Client with documentation, debt management and resolution of his financial concerns.
Our Client made a decision to change his living arrangements, which resulted in new social connections with neighbours. However, the new environment posed challenges with increased self-care and food preparation. The Client and Social Worker explored suitable options for ongoing care and support.
The Social Worker supported the Client to be active in this process. He conducted all necessary follow up and is now receiving Meals on Wheels and has family support to do shopping on pension day. A referral has been made to the local Aged Care Assessment Team, who will meet with our client to discuss further options.
Outcomes for the Client Due To SLASS Assistance:
Our Client has stated that his anxiety levels have decreased and he is feeling much happier about his future.
Our Client has an increased awareness of support services and processes and demonstrated the capacity to engage with services to support his emotional, physical and financial wellbeing.
Likely Outcomes for the Client without SLASS Assistance:
Our Client and his family may have continued to feel overwhelmed and negatively impacted by his financial situation and support needs.
Our Client’s physical and emotional wellbeing and quality of life may have continued to deteriorate.
Learning Outcomes for Improving Service Delivery and Practice:
This case highlighted the importance of staff maintaining a strong working knowledge of community services, aged care services and other local supports for our senior clients. It also reinforced the importance of providing a client with a non-judgemental, collaborative experience which facilitates self-determination and recognition of a client’s individual strengths.
Son found us on the internet
Client presented with numerous issues in regard to the retirement village she was living in. She had complaints against management for the way they were conducting business, complaints against other residents who were harassing her, including keeping her up late at night by noise and had also threatened her and assaulted her.
The client’s son had been researching her situation on the internet and was providing her with information where he thought breaches in the law had taken place. He had written letters and summited forms to the management in an overly complicated way that appeared to confuse matters.
The client had been admitted to hospital on two occasions with discharge information attributing the living situation to be to cause of the client’s mental state. The client disclosed that she had attempted to take her own life due to the stress and fear of the situation.
Actions Taken (Legal and Social Work):
The SLASS social service officer spent time listening to the story isolate the issues; the client had a 20 page statement with a large number of separate complaints. The client talked about the support she was receiving which included a mental health support worker that regularly came to her home. TASC engaged with the worker to maintain continuity in support for the client.
The client had her own computer, and was quite competent in using it. The social service officer provided a number of referrals and things for her to look at in relation to her situation. These included The Residential Tenancy Authority, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), Parks and Village Information Link (PAVIL) and also Qld Police.
The SLASS solicitor and social service officer met with the client and her support worker to look at the legal aspects of her situation. The solicitor wrote letters to the parties and provided information for the future situation.
Outcomes For The Client Due To SLASS Assistance:
The client contacted police and they visited to talk about her situation and gave information about Peace and Good Behaviour Orders.
The client made the decision that she actually wanted to leave the complex rather than to address all of the issues, recognising that there were many that she would not have influence over.
The client was able to receive assistance from her support worker to secure a new house.
The client was focused on the immediate issues and needed some assistance to look at the overall situation.
Likely Outcomes For The Client Without SLASS Assistance:
The client may have got herself into legal trouble by having her son continue to write letters with legal threats when he lacked qualifications and understanding of what he was doing.
The client may have spent more time in hospital due to her state of distress and anxiety.
The client may have got to the stage where she continued to seek a solution through suicide.
Learning Outcomes For Improving Service Delivery And Practice:
Facilitating a client client to use their own resources and skills to participate in the process. Giving the client the opportunity to explore their whole situation to find the underlying issue and solution.
Client M had unexpectedly received a letter from a NSW accounting firm, advising they had found lost money in her name from over 30 years ago (approximately $6 000).
The firm was happy to help her retrieve that money for the fee of $1 500.00. M had never used these accountants, but was of the belief that their professional services (and fee) were required to claim the money.
We advised M she did not need to pay a fee to make a claim and could lodge one herself. M is a little overwhelmed by forms, computers and online services, so TASC provided assistance over the phone with completion of ASIC online processes and forms. It was a very simple matter.
M rang today, over the moon. She had just received a $6 000 cheque in the mail and it didn’t cost her a cent. She can now get her old style bathroom fixed for her husband, who has specific need. They are also going to put it towards the first little holiday they’ve had in years – at trip to see family and sightsee.
She expressed how grateful she was to have a place like TASC on her side.
She asked me to also share the good news with her favourite Solicitor Kim and with Allana, because she is so lovely and helpful every single time M calls.