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.