1. Think about what is important to you
This is easiest to do while you are well.
For example, you may value:
- living in your own home
- maintaining connections with family and close friends
- retaining links to your community
- specific activities.
2. Know your options
Under the law in Victoria, you can:
- appoint someone to support you to make decisions
- appoint a person (or people) to make medical, lifestyle or financial decisions for you in the future, if you do not have the capacity to make a specific decision
- include information for the people you appoint, or instructions or conditions
- make decisions in advance about medical treatment you consent to or refuse
You may choose to make use of some, all or none of these.
Take the time to think about them, talk to others, and seek advice if you need to.
3. Let those close to you know what is important to you
Regardless of whether you choose to make use of any of these options, it is important people close to you understand what you value and your wishes. If they know this, it will help make sure decisions are made as you would want in the future.
If there is no one suitable to share this information with, it is still useful to write down your values and wishes. If someone who doesn't know you, such as Victoria’s Public Advocate, needs to make a decision for you in the future, this information will be helpful.
4. Think about who you will choose
If you decide to appoint a person, or people, who will have legal authority to make decisions for you, think about what qualities are important to you. For example, you may want someone who:
- is willing to listen to, and act on, your wishes rather than their own
- is trustworthy
- has the skill and time required
- is willing to take on the role with all its responsibilities
- can communicate effectively and is willing to consult with others
- understands and respects your culture and connections with your community
- can manage property and money well.
5. Understand risks and safeguards
While the majority of appointments work well, sometimes things go wrong.
It may be that the person you thought you could trust to act for you does not keep on top of your needs, or misuses your money.
You can reduce this risk. The guide You Decide Who Decides has tips on how to do this.
If things do go wrong, there are steps you and others can take to stop this, such as applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
6. Regularly review legal documents
The planning process is ongoing. Your circumstances and wishes may change.
If you make legal documents, it is a good idea to review these at least every two years.