What is powers of attorney

Power of attorney lawyers near me

What is a Power of Attorney?

Powers of Attorney are documents which let you appoint someone to make decisions for you if you can’t do it yourself.

The two most common types of Powers of Attorney in Victoria are Enduring Powers of Attorney and Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker.

There are also some less commonly used Powers of Attorneys, including General Power of Attorney (non-enduring) and Supportive Power of Attorney which are only used in very specific situations.

Why do I need an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Enduring Powers of Attorney deal with financial and personal decisions. So, dealing with bank accounts, selling property, paying bills (financial powers), deciding where you live, who you live with, whether you can work, who can visit you, where you get your hair cut, and other general day to day lifestyle decisions (personal powers).

If you don’t have a valid Enduring Power of Attorney in place and you become unable to make decisions for yourself then your loved ones will need to make an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to be granted Guardianship and Administration powers.

Why do I need an Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker?

Appointments of Medical Treatment Decision Makers deal with medical decisions. So if you can’t make your own medical decisions, then the person you appoint as your Medical Treatment Decision Maker will make those types of decisions for you.

If you don’t have a valid Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker then the current legislation will determine who can make decisions for you. VCAT can also appoint a person as a guardian for medical decisions.

So if you want to decide who will make medical decisions for you, then you need to make a valid Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker.

Do I need both types of Powers of Attorney?

Yes. Enduring Powers of Attorney and Appointments of Medical Treatment Decision Makers are made under different legislation and they cover different types of decisions so it is important that you have both of them.

You don’t have to appoint the same people for both though, you can have one person as your medical treatment decision maker, a different person as your attorney for financial matters, and a third person as your attorney for personal matters.

It is really important to appoint someone that you trust in these roles because they will be able to make a lot of significant decisions that will have real impacts on you.

What happens if my attorney does something wrong?

Attorneys have certain duties which they have to act in accordance with. These duties are detailed in the Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic) and include that the attorney must:

  • act honestly, diligently and in good faith;
  • exercise reasonable skill and care:
  • not use the position for profit unless permitted under another section of the Act;
  • avoid acting where there is or may be a conflict of interest unless authorised; and
  • keep accurate records and accounts.

If your attorney doesn’t act in accordance with these duties, or if there is a disagreement between attorneys, then the matter is likely to end up going to VCAT to be decided

 

Contact us today to book an appointment to discuss your Powers of Attorney.

Call us: 03 5929 7010

Email us: info@yarravalleylegal.com.au