Leonidas Lawyers can assist you with the four types of Powers of Attorney used in Victoria.
General Power of Attorney
Used to appoint someone, to make financial or legal decisions for you, usually for a specific period of time. For example, can be used when you need someone to manage your affairs while you are overseas. The appointment is no longer valid should you lose your legal capacity.
Enduring Power of Attorney (Financial)
Used to appoint someone to make financial or legal decisions for you, for example these can include managing matters such as banking, rental of property, and paying bills. The time at which the power takes effect can be specified in the form, as can conditions of the decisions the attorney can make. It is called “Enduring” as it continues even if the individual who granted is unable any more to make such decisions for themselves.
Enduring Power of Attorney (Medical Treatment)
Used to appoint someone to make medical decisions for you, for example these can include agreeing to medication, surgery and other medical procedures. The time at which the power takes effect can be specified in the form, as can conditions of the decisions the attorney can make. It is called “Enduring” as it continues even if the individual who granted is unable any more to make such decisions for themselves.
Enduring Power of Guardianship
Used to appoint someone to make personal and lifestyle decisions for you, for example like where you live and the health care you receive. The time at which the power takes effect is when you are unable to make decisions. It is called “Enduring” as it continues even if the individual who granted is unable any more to make such decisions for themselves.
Deciding Who to Appoint
This needs to be your decision, and only your decision. Ideally you should appoint someone who you believe is trustworthy and who both knows you well enough, and is objective enough, to make the decisions that are best for you. With a General Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney (Financial) you can appoint more than one person and stipulate, if you wish, that both of them have to agree for their decisions to be valid.
What are the legal responsibilities of my Attorney?
They are legally responsible to you and must act in your best interests. While you have mental capacity they must obey your instructions. They cannot give gifts to themselves or to anyone else unless you specifically authorise this and they must keep their finances and money separate from yours, keeping accurate records of all of their dealings with your money.
Revoking the Appointment
You can revoke the appointment by telling the attorney or guardian that their power is withdrawn, and by destroying the document and any copies.
Who can make
Anyone over the age of 18 who has the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the document, who makes the decisions in the document of their own free will and who can communicate clearly what those decisions are.
When should I make
Before you need them! These documents safeguard your interests in the event of something unforeseen – an accident or illness that robs you of your capacity to make decisions for yourself. It is better to be prepared and confident in knowing that the person you choose will be making important decisions about your money, your living arrangements and your health.
When does it start?
For a Power of Attorney (Financial) it begins when you nominate that it should. Powers of Attorney (Medical Treatment) and Powers of Attorney (Guardianship) only commence when you are unable to make your own decisions. It’s really important that you discuss these documents with a lawyer who can give you professional advice about your particular circumstances. It’s also vital that you discuss your wishes with your family to avoid unnecessary conflict and stress.
Do I need a witness?
Yes, these documents need to be witnessed by a person with statutory authority such as a solicitor or Notary Public.
Can I change my mind?
Yes, as long as you still have the decision making capacity to do so you can revoke or change these documents. This has to be done in a legally binding way, however, so please seek legal advice.