In Victoria there are three types of Power of Attorney:
1️⃣ General (Non-Enduring) Power of Attorney (POA) publicly available for free ➲ download here;
2️⃣ Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA); and
3️⃣ Supportive Power of Attorney (SPOA).
Both a General (Non-Enduring) Power of Attorney (POA) + Supportive Power of Attorney (SPOA) automatically cease if you lose your decision-making capacity after their execution.
If you want the Power of Attorney (POA) to continue after you lose your decision-making capacity you must use an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA).
An Attorney for the purposes of your Power of Attorney does not need to be your lawyer.
You need to consider that an Attorney will have enormous power over your financial + legal affairs.
You can appoint anyone you will agree to take on the responsibility.
You should choose a person whom you can trust and who will manage your finances in a responsible way.
Usually one or more family members or close friends are appointed as Power of Attorney (POA), alternatively you may prefer to approach the States Trustees VIC or a private trustee company or lawyer to act as your attorneys, but fees will apply.
A General (Non-Enduring) Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you (the Principal) to nominate one or more persons (referred to as an Attorney) to act on your behalf.
A POA gives the Attorney the authority, if you choose, to manage your legal and financial affairs, including but not limited to:
➲ Buying, selling, leasing or otherwise dealing with your real estate (registration is required - see below);
➲ Shares and other assets for you;
➲ Operating your bank accounts; and
➲ Spending money on your behalf.
No. In Victoria, a POA does not have to be witnessed unless you are unable to sign the form.
In this case, you can direct another person to fill in the POA and sign the POA for you.
The other person must sign on your behalf in front of you and two witnesses, who must also sign the POA being signed.
You may set whatever conditions and limitations on your Attorney that you choose.
An Attorney must always act in your best interest.
In order to be able to grant a General Non-Enduring Power of Attorney (POA) you must:
1️⃣ Be 18 years of age or over; and
2️⃣ Have decision-making capacity in relation to making the General (Non-Enduring) Power of Attorney (POA).
The term decision-making capacity is defined in section 4 of the Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (VIC).
A person has the capacity to make a decision as to a matter if the person is able to:-
➲ Understand the information relevant to the decision and the effect of the decision;
➲ Retain that information to the extent necessary to make the decision;
➲ Use or weigh that information as part of the process of making the decision; and
➲ Communicate the decision and the person's views and needs as to the decision in some way, including by speech, gestures or other means.
Yes. A Power of Attorney [whether a POA or EPOA] is an important + powerful legal document.
You should get legal advice before you sign it.
No, registration with the Titles Office is not essential.
➲ In order for your Attorney to sell, mortgage, lease more than 3 years, or otherwise deal with your real estate registration with the VIC Titles Office is required.
It is advisable to register your POA or EPOA so that it is:
➲ On record as a public document;
➲ Safe from loss or destruction; and
➲ More easily accepted as evidence that your Attorney is allowed to deal with your legal + financial affairs.
After you have signed a Power of Attorney (POA) you still continue to have the authority to deal with your own legal + financial affairs as long as you retain decision-making capacity.
It is at the point of time when you lose your decision-making capacity where the crucial difference between the three types of Power of Attorney (POA) becomes apparent.
Important: Once you have lost your decision-making capacity you have no ability to create another Power of Attorney (POA) or any other legal document.
The question of decision-making capacity is a complex one.
Once decision-making capacity is lost there is still potential it might return, but it is also possible it may not.
Various permutations of these documents are available and the appropriate form will depend upon your individual circumstances and preferences.
Ideally you will conduct your Estate Planning at a time when there is no question regarding your decision-making capacity.
This ensures that in case of something unforeseen happening to you ➲ i.e., a stroke or accident; there will be at least one other person who can quickly + easily look after your money + property.
If not already in place, an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) + other Estate Planning documents can be organised as soon as possible after signs/diagnosis of dementia (this is strongly advised).
Note: Fees will apply which will be paid on your behalf using your money. As you would have lost your decision-making capacity you would not be able to do this yourself and would have no control over the process or who is appointed.
If your Attorney does not follow your directions or does not act in your best interest, you should revoke the Power of Attorney (POA).
You or someone on your behalf must take reasonable steps to inform the Attorney of the revocation, preferably in writing.
The Attorney must then immediately cease to act as your Attorney.
Important: Ask your Attorney to return the Power of Attorney (POA) document to make sure that they do not continue to act as your Attorney.
If anyone else, such as a bank, has been advised about the Power of Attorney (POA), that person or entity should also be informed of the revocation.
Note: In Victoria, making a new Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) unless specified otherwise automatically revokes an earlier Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA).
You can also formally revoke your General Power of Attorney (POA) by completing the Revocation of General Power of Attorney form.
In order to formally revoke your Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) you must sign the revocation form in front of two adult witnesses:
1️⃣ Someone authorised to witness affidavits; and
2️⃣ A Medical Practitioner (medical doctor).
If the Power of Attorney has been registered with the VIC Titles Office it will need to be deregistered.
The legislation governing instruments creating Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPOA) in Victoria is:
➲ The Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (VIC); and
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🔒 The Victorian Will + Power of Attorney Registry
[Anyone in Victoria can register information about where they keep their Will + Power of Attorney (POA) documents at no charge. There is also the option to physically store originals for free].
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