Powers of Attorney
Buller McLeod Lawyers can help you with the various types of Powers of Attorney used in Victoria:
- General Power of Attorney which appoints someone to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf for a specific period of time, for example, if you are overseas and need someone to manage your financial affairs while you are away.
- Enduring Power of Attorney (Financial), which is used to appoint someone to make legal, financial or personal decisions on your behalf.
- an Appointment of a Medical Treatment Decision Maker (Medical Power of Attorney), which is used to appoint someone to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them yourself.
Who can make a Power of Attorney?
Anyone over the age of 18 who has the capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the document, who makes the decisions in the document of their own free will and who can communicate clearly what those decisions are.
When should I make a Power of Attorney?
Before you need them! These documents safeguard your interests in the event of something unforeseen – an accident or illness that robs you of your capacity to make decisions for yourself. It is better to be prepared and confident in knowing that the person you choose will be making important decisions about your money, your living arrangements and your health.
When does it start?
For a Power of Attorney (Financial) it begins when you nominate that it should - it could start immediately, or from a specified date or only once you have lost the capacity to make decisions for yourself. An Appointment of a Medical Treatment Decision Maker only commence when you are unable to make your own decisions.
Who should I appoint to be my Attorney?
You need to appoint someone your trust to make the right decisions. With a General Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Attorney (Financial) you can appoint more than one person to make the decisions either individually or jointly. With an Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker you can only have one active Attorney at a time, but you can specify additional "back up" Attorneys, in the order you prefer, if the first one is not available.
What are the legal responsibilities of my Attorney?
They are legally responsible to you and must act in your best interests. While you have mental capacity they must obey your instructions. They cannot give gifts to themselves or to anyone else unless you specifically authorise this and they must keep their finances and money separate from yours, keeping accurate records of all of their dealings with your money.
Who should I talk to about it?
It's really important that you discuss these documents with a lawyer who can give you professional advice about your particular circumstances. It's also vital that you discuss your wishes with your family to avoid unnecessary conflict and stress.
Do I need a witness?
Yes, these types of documents need to be witnessed by a person with statutory authority such as a Solicitor.
Can I change my mind?
Yes, as long as you still have the decision making capacity to do so you can revoke or change these documents. This has to be done in a legally binding way, however, so please seek legal advice.
How much does it cost?
Our fixed fee for advising, preparing and witnessing an Enduring (Financial )Power of Attorney is $220.00 including GST per document and $150.00 including GST for an Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker (Medical Power of Attorney).
Contact us to find out more or to arrange an appointment with one of our Victorian Power of Attorney Lawyers.