Supportive attorney appointments
Everyone with decision-making capacity has the right to make their own decisions about the things that affect them.
Supportive attorney appointments are a way a person can be supported to make and act on their decisions.
Some people may want support to make and act on their decisions because of a disability. Other people may want this support when they have a serious illness or injury. Others may experience difficulties communicating, or may have experienced trauma in the past that means they value having the support of someone else when communicating with organisations.
In Victoria, a supportive attorney appointment is a legal document. You can make a supportive attorney appointment if you are aged 18 years or older and have decision-making capacity to do so to do so.
How to appoint a supportive attorney, and when it ends
Click on the tabs below to read more about how to appoint a supportive attorney and when an appointment ends. Or see OPA's Side by Side booklet.
It is important you choose someone you trust and who respects your rights and independence.
You choose what types of decisions you want support to make. These can be decisions about financial or personal matters.
However, please note that a supportive attorney does not have authority to support you to make and give effect to decisions about medical treatment. Only a medical support person has authority to support you in this way.
You can give your supportive attorney authority to:
- access, collect or obtain information
- assist you to access, collect or obtain information
This means organisations (such as banks, Centrelink and utility providers) will be authorised to disclose personal information about you to your supportive attorney.
You can also give your supportive attorney authority to:
- communicate your decisions
- take any reasonable action to give effect to your decisions.
However, this authority does not include giving effect to decisions about a ‘significant financial transaction’. Read the definition of a significant financial transaction.
You can appoint more than one supportive attorney. If you do, each supportive attorney acts separately. You can download an OPA fact sheet with information for supportive attorneys that explains their role and responsibilities.
An interactive supportive attorney appointment form has been created by the Department of Justice and Regulation.
Alternatively, find the short version of the form in the OPA booklet Side by Side.
You need to sign the form in front of two adult witnesses.
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.
One witness must be someone authorised to witness statutory declarations (which includes registered medical practitioners).
The Department of Justice & Regulation website has a full list of people who can witness statutory declarations.
Neither witness can be:
- the person you are appointing as your supportive attorney
- a person who is signing the form at your direction (where you are unable to physically sign the form).
In addition, at least one witness must not be either a:
- relative of yours or a relative of your supportive attorney
- care worker or accommodation provider for you.
See what these words mean for the definitions of ‘relative’, ‘care worker’ and ‘accommodation provider’.
Your supportive attorney(s) sign a statement of acceptance before a witness
After you have signed the form in front of witnesses, your supportive attorney(s) 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 supportive attorneys certified copies, or make sure they know where to find a certified copy if they need it.
Read about certified copies.
A supportive attorney appointment ends if:
- you revoke (cancels) the appointment
- the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) revokes the power
- you die
- the supportive attorney dies, where you do not have an alternative supportive attorney (a back-up).
Your supportive attorney’s role also ends if:
- they resign
- they are no longer eligible to be your supportive attorney
- they no longer have the decision-making capacity to support you or
- VCAT revokes their appointment.
When a supportive attorney appointment does not have effect
A supportive attorney appointment does not have effect during any period that you do not have decision making capacity for the matters.