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What is a Power of Attorney and how does it work?



In Victoria, there are two types of Power of Attorney. The first is known as an Enduring Power of Attorney (Financial and Personal) and the second is an Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker document.


Enduring Power of Attorney (Financial & Personal)

This document allows an adult with decision making capacity (the Principal) to appoint one or multiple people, known as Attorneys to act on their behalf for financial, legal and / or personal matters.


Financial matters includes paying bills and expenses, liaising with a bank, buying and selling real property, corresponding with Centrelink.

Personal matters can be made in circumstances where the Principal has lost decision making capacity and such decisions include deciding where someone lives and making lifestyle related decisions.

The Principal can also determine when the Attorney's power commences:

  • Immediately;

  • When the Principal fails to have decision making capacity;

  • At a specific time or circumstance decided by the Principal.

It is also important to be aware that the Enduring Power of Attorney can be revoked by the Principal at any time while the Principal has capacity. The Enduring Power of Attorney will also be revoked by law in the following situations:

  • When the Principal dies;

  • When all the Attorneys have died; or

  • When an application is made to the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal and an order is made to revoke the Enduring Power of Attorney.

Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker

An adult with decision making capacity (the Principal) can appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf regarding medical treatment.

Medical treatment decisions can include (but are not limited to) surgery, therapy, treatment by way of prescription medication and treatment for mental illness.

It is very important to be aware that the power to make medical treatment decisions on behalf of the Principal does not begin until the Principal loses their decision making capacity. It is therefore very important for the Principal to appoint someone they can trust and who will carry out their wishes.


How can Nevin Lenne Gross assist you?

Principal Lawyer and Director of the firm Rebecca Healy is an Accredited Specialist in this practice area and shares a wealth of knowledge when guiding clients through the Powers of Attorney process and options. Rebecca understands the balance of family dynamics and the law associated with making Powers of Attorney documentation and provides clear, succinct and reassuring advice to clients. If you are thinking of appointing an Attorney, have any general questions or have a Power of attorney document you would like reviewed, please contact us.

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