The types and purposes of a Power of Attorney
There are three types of Powers of Attorney.These are:
- An Enduring Power of Attorney (Financial);
- An Enduring Power of Attorney (Personal); and
- The Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker(s).
Each document has its own specific purpose:
Enduring Power of Attorney (Financial)
This power allows you to appoint an Attorney or Attorneys to make decisions in respect of financial matters. It is useful as a means of ensuring that someone, chosen by you, takes control of your financial and legal affairs if you are ever unable to do so yourself.
Enduring Power of Attorney (Personal)
You may appoint a personal Attorney, and alternative personal Attorneys, to make lifestyle decisions on your behalf. This may include, but is not be limited to, where and when you work, where and with whom you live and restriction of visitors.
Appointment of Medical Treatment Decision Maker(s)
You may appoint a series of medical treatment decision makers to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf. This document comes into effect if you lose capacity to make these types of decisions on your own. You should also consider the preparation of an Advance Care Directive with your treating medical practitioner or a specialist Advance Care Planning Unit.
Benefits of having a Power of Attorney
By preparing a Power of Attorney while you have legal capacity you are able to choose whom you wish to appoint to make decisions on your behalf and you can provide, if necessary, conditions and limitations for the exercise of such powers.
If you do not have a Power of Attorney and you lose legal capacity, a family member, friend or the Public Advocate may make an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on your behalf. VCAT will then choose whether the applicant or another individual or a Trustee Company is most suitable to be appointed as your Administrator and/or Guardian. This process is costly and the appointment may not reflect your wishes.