Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make certain decisions for you in relation to your financial or personal matters.
If you get sick, travelling for a protracted period or otherwise unable to sign important documents yourself, your Attorney can sign on your behalf. A Power of Attorney is often used as a tool to plan your future for when you may not be able to make decisions yourself.
Attorneys have strict obligations under the Powers of Attorney Act 2014 and cannot misuse that power.
When someone loses their capacity to make decisions, a dispute can arise as to who should have that decision-making power on their behalf. You may also be concerned that someone is misusing a power of attorney for financial advantage.
It is possible to sue someone for breach of their duties and obligations under the Powers of Attorney Act 2014.
It is also possible to seek the advice or opinion of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (“VCAT”) to resolve the dispute. VCAT is a decision-making body but is not as formal as a Court and is very user-friendly.
If you are concerned about misuse of a Power of Attorney or would like some advice about guardianship disputes, our lawyers can assist.
Medical treatment and Health Care Directives
If you wish to appoint someone to make decisions regarding your medical treatment you will need to appoint a Medical Treatment Decision Maker or prepare a Health Care Directive.
Appointing a Medical Treatment Decision Maker can be an important step if you are or become sick and wish to avoid disputes about your medical treatment when you are no longer able to make the decisions yourself.
This is because your health practitioner will need the consent of the Medical Treatment Decision Maker, before administering treatment.
Your Medical Treatment Decision Maker has an obligation to make the decision you would make about your medical treatment, if you were able to do so, and must act in line with your values.