A Power of Attorney is a really important document that allows you to nominate someone you trust to act on your behalf.
A Non-Enduring Power of Attorney ceases to operate if you lose your capacity and is therefore not recommended.
An Enduring Power of Attorney continues to operate if you lose your capacity and allows your Attorney to make decisions about:
- financial matters, including any legal matters that relate to financial or property affairs (eg. selling your home, accessing your bank accounts and other investments, obtaining credit in your name);
- personal matters (where you live and health care matters as distinct from medical treatment); or
- both financial and personal matters.
You can specify when this power begins, for instance it may commence immediately (even though you are still able to make these decisions for yourself), or only when your medical practitioner has determined you no longer have capacity to act on your own behalf. There are pros and cons of both and this should be discussed with your lawyer.
You can place conditions on the power, but this should also be discussed with your lawyer.
An appointment of a Medical Treatment Decision Maker gives the person you appoint authority to consent or refuse medical treatment or medical research procedures on your behalf. The authority only becomes effective if you lose your capacity, that is when you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
As long as you have capacity, you can withdraw the Power of Attorney at any time, providing it is done in accordance with law.
If a person has no Enduring Power of Attorney and is no longer able to make decisions for themselves, then an application can be made to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an administration order or guardianship order (or both). An administration order is applied for in circumstances where an individual has not appointed an Enduring Power of Attorney for financial matters. A guardianship order is applied for in circumstances where an individual has not appointed an Enduring Power of Attorney for personal decisions.
At Wightons Lawyers, we have experienced lawyers who can help you prepare Powers of Attorneys, or work with you to assist with applications to VCAT if there is no power of attorney in place for a loved one.
We invite you to contact our office on 5221 8777 to discuss how we can assist.
… as seen in Times News Group publications.