2. Extent of the attorney’s authority
Even if a donor has absolute trust in the attorney, he/she cannot give the attorney a general authority over all the donor’s property and financial affairs by means of an EPA. For example, the donor cannot state in the EPA: “I have complete confidence in my attorney and he/she has authority to do whatever he/she deems fit in relation to my property and financial affairs.” A donor is required to specify in the EPA the particular matters, property or affairs in relation to which the attorney has authority to act. In other words, before making an EPA, a donor should carefully and seriously consider the following matters:
- The value of the donor’s assets;
- The variety of the donor’s assets, e.g. how much of them are in cash, real property, shares in private companies, shares in publicly listed companies, bonds, antiques, jewellery, vehicles, yachts, etc.;
- How the donor wants the attorney to manage these assets in case of the donor’s mental incapacity, e.g. to sell part of them, to maintain them to generate rental income or interests, to use part of them for the donor’s daily living, to give part of them as gifts to designated person(s), etc.; and
- Whether or not the attorney has to seek professional advice (e.g. for legal or financial aspects) if he/she intends to enter into a transaction the value of which exceeds a specified amount.
The above list simply provides some examples and is not an exhaustive list. Depending on the different circumstances of different donors, there can be various other matters to be considered by each donor.