Enduring power of attorney
People plan for their future in many ways. Making an enduring power of attorney is one way of planning for the future.
Everyone has the right to make their own decisions. However, anyone can experience an injury or illness that means they are unable to make decisions, either temporarily or permanently. By making an enduring power of attorney, you can choose who will make important financial and personal decisions for you, such as where you will live or what happens to your house, if you are unable to do so in the future.
An enduring power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint someone (an attorney) to make certain decisions for you. The power endures - or continues - if and when you are unable to make decisions.
You can make an enduring power of attorney if you are aged 18 years or older and have decision-making capacity to do so.
You can only make an enduring power of attorney for yourself, you cannot make one on behalf of someone else.
Your attorney cannot make medical treatment decisions for you unless they are also your medical treatment decision maker.
How to make an enduring power of attorney
Whoever you appoint will have the authority to make decisions for you after you are no longer able to oversee their actions, or change or cancel their appointment.
It is very important you choose someone you trust, who understands what is important to you, and is willing and able to act on your wishes as far as it is possible to do so.
If there is no one that you trust who is willing and able to act as attorney, you can appoint someone independent, such as a trustee company for financial matters.
You can choose for your attorney(s) to have the power to make decisions about financial matters (such as paying bills), personal matters (such as where you live) or both. You can limit the power to cover only specific matters, and you can choose when the powers start.
An interactive enduring power of attorney appointment form has been created by the Department of Justice and Regulation.
You can appoint one attorney and up to two alternative attorneys (back-ups) using the short version.
Use the long version if you want to appoint more attorneys.
Download the short or long version of the form, and instructions for completing the form. [add link]
Alternatively, find the short version of the form in the free OPA booklet Take Control. (Order your free copy of the guide from Victoria Legal Aid.[add link])
If you cannot physically sign the form, you can direct another person to sign for you in your presence and in the presence of the witnesses. Use the one of the interactive forms which have a place for this.
You need to sign the form in front of two adult witnesses.
One must be:
- someone authorised to witness affidavits
- a medical practitioner (medical doctor).
The Department of Justice & Regulation website has a full list of people who can witness affidavits. [insert link]
- a Justice of the Peace or a bail justice
- a lawyer with a practising certificate
- a police officer of or above the rank of sergeant or, for the time being, in charge of a police station.
Neither witness can be:
- one of your attorney(s)
- a relative of yours or a relative of any of your attorney(s)
- a care worker or accommodation provider for you
- a person who is signing at your direction (because you are unable to physically sign the form).
See what these words mean for the definitions of ‘relative’, ‘care worker’ and ‘accommodation provider’. [insert link]
Your attorney(s) sign a statement of acceptance before a witness
After you have signed the form in front of witnesses, each of your attorneys and alternative attorneys must sign a statement of acceptance in front of a witness.
Storage and certified copies
Your completed document is not registered in Victoria. You should keep the original in a safe place and give your attorneys certified copies, or make sure they know where to find a certified copy when they need it.
Read about certified copies. [add link]
An enduring power of attorney ends if:
- you revoke (cancels) the power (while you have capacity to do so)
- you make a later enduring power of attorney (unless you specify that their earlier one is not cancelled)
- the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) revokes the power
- you die.
Read about how to revoke an enduring power of attorney [add link]