Appointing a person to support you in making decisions
Everyone has the right to make their own decisions and to receive whatever support they require to do so.
In Victoria, if you are able to make decisions with support, you can legally appoint someone you trust to assist you to make, communicate and act on your decisions.
By making a legal appointment, you can resolve problems created by concerns about privacy of information when the person interacts with hospitals, banks, disability organisations, utility providers and government agencies on your behalf. A legally-appointed support person also has a clear, authoritative role to advocate alongside you in certain situations.
In Victoria, there are four legally recognised roles for decision-supporters, made under four different acts.
- Suppotive attorney (Powers of Attorney Act 2014)
- Support person (Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016)
- Plan nominee (The National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013)
- Nominated Person (Mental Health Act 2014)
A supportive attorney is appointed by a person to support them to make and act on their decisions.
The person gives their supportive attorney power to: access or provide information about them to organisations such as hospitals, banks and utility providers; communicate with organisations; communicate their decisions; and give effect to their decisions.
The person decides what type of decisions the want support to make and act on, which can include personal matters, such as access to support services, and financial matters, such as paying expenses.
A supportive attorney cannot act on decisions about significant financial transactions such as selling a house.
Read more about appointing a supportive attorney.
Medical support person
A person (including a child who has decision-making capacity) can appoint another person as their medical Support Person. The role of a Support Person is to help the person make, communicate and act on their medical treatment decisions.
When the person does not have decision-making capacity to make medical treatment decisions their Support Person represents the person's interests in relation to their medical treatment, for example explaining previous treatment preferences to medical staff.
A Support Person does not have the authority to make a person's medical treatment decisions unless they are also appointed to be a Medical Treatment Decision Maker.
Read more about appointing a medical support person.
A plan nominee is someone appointed in writing at the request of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant or on the initiative of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), to act on behalf of someone participating in the NDIS.
A plan nominee has a duty to: ascertain the wishes of the participant; act in a manner that promotes the personal and social wellbeing of the participant; only act if the participant is not capable of doing the act; develop the capacity of the participant; and avoid or manage conflicts of interest.
For more information on the plan nominee rules, see the operational guideline on the NDIS website.
A nominated person is chosen by a mental health consumer (person receiving mental health services) to represent their interests and be a support in the event that they become a patient under the Mental Health Act.
The role of a nominated person is to:
- provide the patient with support and help represent their interests
- receive information about the patient in accordance with the Act
- be one of the people who must be consulted in accordance with the Act about the patient's treatment
- assist the patient to exercise any right they have under the Act
- undertake the role until the nomination is withdrawn by the consumer.
A person who is nominated by a consumer may refuse if they do not want to undertake the role.
For more information about the role of the nominated person, visit the Mental Health Advocacy Service website.
For more information about suported decision-making in Victoria, examples and best practice, see Supported decision-making in Victoria: a guide for families and carers.