Enduring Powers of Attorney: Promoting Attorneys' Accountability as Substitute Decision Makers
Australasian Journal on Ageing, 33(3), pp. 193-197, 2014
Posted: 10 Jul 2016
Date Written: 2014
Aim: The misuse and abuse of Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) by attorneys, particularly in relation to financial decision-making, is a growing concern. This paper explores the opportunities to enhance accountability of attorneys at the time of the execution of the document in Queensland.
Method: A four stage multi-method design comprised a critical reference group; semi-structured interviews with 32 principals or potential principals, attorneys and witnesses; two focus groups with service providers and a state wide survey of 76 principals, attorneys and witnesses.
Results: Across all methods and user groups, understanding the role and obligations of the attorney in an EPA was consistently identified as problematic.
Conclusions: Promoting accountability and understanding can be addressed by greater attention to the role of the attorney in the forms/ guidelines and in the structure and witnessing of the forms, increased direction about record keeping and access to appropriate advice and support.
Keywords: Health law, Medical law, Enduring powers of attorney, Adult guardianship law, Substitute decision-making
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