Victorian laws on powers of attorney are changing

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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