New powers of attorney will help thwart abuse
Monday 31 August, 2015
Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce, has welcomed new powers of attorney in Victoria which come into force on 1 September, 2015.
Ms Pearce said the new powers included protections for people with disability against financial and other abuse.
“The new powers of attorney in Victoria will help Victorians who are vulnerable through disability by including higher witnessing requirements and the creation of new offences for abuse of those powers,” Ms Pearce said.
The new powers:
- enable people to appoint, on the one form, attorneys for financial matters and/or for personal matters (including health care)
- enable people to fill in powers of attorney forms online via OPA's website
- put in place new protections (including elevated witnessing requirements and the creation of new offences) to help guard against financial and other abuse.
Ms Pearce also welcomed a new ‘supported decision-making initiative’ contained in the legislation, which enables 'supportive attorneys' to be appointed to assist people to make decisions.
This new category of appointment - an Australian first - enables supportive attorneys to collect information and put decisions into effect while recognising that authority for the decisions remains with the person they are supporting.
OPA has produced new guides to assist people to complete new powers of attorney.
The Take Control guide has been updated, and a new Guide to Making Supportive Attorney Appointments has been developed. OPA has also created a new set of brochures on guardianship, medical decision making, and powers of attorney.
Powers of Attorney created before 1 September are still legally valid.
The new guide and forms are available on OPA’s website at www.publicadvocate.vic.gov.au
Take Control can be ordered by phoning Victoria Legal Aid at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au
Enquiries about the new powers of attorney can be made to OPA’s Advice Service on 1300 309 337 from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.