Victorians better protected with new power of attorney laws
New powers of attorney laws, which come into effect today, will provide more protection and support for Victorians who appoint someone they trust to look after their personal and financial affairs.
Ros Spence, Member for Yuroke, today encouraged local residents to take control of their future by making a power of attorney. A power of attorney provides clarity and support for a person (the principal) who appoints someone else (an attorney) to look after some or all aspects of their personal and financial affairs.
The Powers of Attorney Act 2014 combines the enduring power of attorney (financial) and the enduring power of guardianship into a single enduring power of attorney for financial and personal matters.
A principal will now only need to make one enduring power of attorney to allow a trusted person to manage both their financial and personal affairs.
In a legislative first for Victoria and Australia, the new Act has created the role of Supportive Attorney, which can support the principal to make and give effect to their own decisions.
It also provides improved protections and safeguards against abuse. It has created a new offence for dishonestly obtaining or using an enduring power of attorney or supportive attorney appointment, punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
The new laws recognise a person’s right to make their own decisions whenever possible, in relation to enduring powers of attorney and supportive attorney appointments. It also provides better guidance for assessing a person’s capacity to make decisions.
As part of the changes there are new and improved forms, to simplify the process for making enduring powers of attorney and supportive attorney appointments.
These forms and information about the changes are available at www.publicadvocate.vic.gov.au