Power of Attorney – Financial

The information on this page has been taken from the website of the Office of the Public Advocate (Victoria). The information provided is generally transferable to other Australian jurisdictions but it is recommended that you obtain further information relevant to your State or Country via an internet search for the authority in your district.

Power of Attorney – Non-enduring

A general non-enduring power of attorney is a legal document where someone appoints one or more people to make financial decisions for them.  Financial matters include dealing with legal issues that relate to the person’s financial or property affairs.

People make general non-enduring powers of attorney because they are unavailable or want assistance to manage their financial affairs.  General non-enduring powers of attorney are often used for a specific purpose and for a fixed period of time. For example, someone needs another person to run their business while they are overseas so they make a power for the period that they are away.

A general non-enduring power of attorney is not for future planning. If the person who made the power at a future point in time does not have decisions making capacity for the relevant financial matters, a general non-enduring power of attorney does not operate.   And the attorney cannot make decisions during this time.

A general non-enduring power of attorney ends:

  • when the form specifies
  • if the person who made the appointment cancels the power (they can also change the power)
  • if the principal dies
  • if the principal permanently loses decision making capacity.

Forms can be sourced through the website of the Office of the Public Advocate (Victoria).

Power of attorney – enduring

Making an enduring power of attorney is one way of planning for the future.

Everyone has the right to make their own decisions. However, anyone can experience an injury or illness that means they are unable to make decisions, either temporarily or permanently.

By making an enduring power of attorney, you can choose who will make important financial and personal decisions for you, such as where you will live or what happens to your house, if you are unable to do so in the future.

An enduring power of attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint someone (an attorney) to make certain decisions for you. The power endures – or continues – if and when you are unable to make decisions.

You can make an enduring power of attorney if you are aged 18 years or older and have decision-making capacity to do so.

You can only make an enduring power of attorney for yourself, you cannot make one on behalf of someone else.

Your attorney cannot make medical treatment decisions for you unless they are also your medical treatment decision maker.

Forms can be sourced through the website of the Office of the Public Advocate (Victoria).

What happens if you don’t make an enduring power of attorney?

If you don’t appoint anyone, and are unable to make a decision when it needs to be made, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) can appoint someone to make the decision, such as the Public Advocate or a trustee company.

An enduring power of attorney ends if:

  • you revoke (cancels) the power (while you have capacity to do so)
  • you make a later enduring power of attorney (unless you specify that their earlier one is not cancelled)
  • the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) revokes the power
  • you die.

Powers of attorney made interstate or overseas

Recognition by other countries of powers of attorney made in Australia

Other countries may give some recognition to powers of attorney made in Australia if they are able to do so under their laws. The attorney or enduring guardian might tell them what care or treatment the person who appointed them would want, but it is unlikely that the country will accept the attorney or enduring guardian’s authority as legally binding.

Recognition in Victoria of powers of attorney made in other states

The laws in each state differ. Many Australian states and territories do accept each other’s powers of attorney, but not all. Victoria recognises enduring powers of attorney made in other states and territories if the powers given are powers that could be given in Victoria.