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Powers of Attorney Act 2014 By Kathy Wilson, Aitken Partners, Lawyers, Melbourne.

The Powers of Attorney Act 2014 will come into effect on 1 September 2015.  Some important consequences in relation to Powers of Attorney are that:

  • The Act introduces new forms for General Non-enduring Powers of Attorney, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Supportive Powers of Attorney and forms for revocation of those powers.
  • The new forms must be used for those types of Powers of Attorney created after commencement of the Act.
  • Powers of attorney made before 1 September 2015 remain valid. The reforms do not affect enduring powers of attorney (medical treatment).

Features of the new Act include:

  • consolidating enduring powers of attorney (financial) and enduring powers of guardianship into the enduring powers of attorney, so that one form can be used to manage your financial and/or personal matters;
  • defining ‘decision making capacity’ and stating that a person is presumed to have decision making capacity unless there is evidence to the contrary;
  • clearly stating the responsibilities and duties of enduring attorneys and the limits on their powers;
    establishing a new role – the supportive attorney – who can support the person appointing them as that person makes or gives effect to decisions (but not make decisions on that person’s behalf);
  • adding safeguards to increase the protection of people making an enduring power of attorney or supportive attorney appointment.  These safeguards include strengthening witnessing requirements; strengthening eligibility criteria for attorneys and increasing the supervisory and compensatory powers of the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal.

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