Assigning someone with authority to deal with your legal matters
when you can no longer do so yourself, is one of the biggest
decisions you may make in your life.
That is why our team of solicitors at Pentana Stanton Lawyers
care about your understanding of what appointing someone as your
Power of Attorney means in reality, not just on paper. We take the
time to ensure you are making the best decision possible to benefit
your future self. Our mission is to ensure this is a positive
decision that takes away the stressors of dealing with your legal
matters later in life, so it doesn't become one you may
As of 1 September 2015, new legislation under the Powers of
Attorney Act 2014 (Vic) will now reflect that a Power of
Attorney will only be legally binding if the person has the
capacity to do so at the time.
By expanding the meaning of a person's 'decision making
capacity' these changes are designed to afford more protection
to your affairs once they are under a Power of Attorney.
To be capable, the person must be over 18 years of age, and
importantly, must be able to understand the effect of a Power of
Attorney, which is to give a person or the people you have selected
the authority to make all legal or financial decisions on your
behalf. These decisions may impact almost all aspects of your life
with regard to your financial matters such as your property and
assets (including trust accounts, companies and shareholdings),
your health and well-being, and your future living arrangements.
This is why it is crucial for your lawyer to explain the scope of
the authority you are handing over.
The new legislation requires that you must be able to retain and
understand this information, or weigh it up to make a valid
decision on who is going to be your Power of Attorney. Determining
who is the best person, or people to appoint to look after these
matters is often a personal matter for you to decide. But we can
assist you in enforcing a decision, particularly when it may be
against other people's wishes or intentions. For example, your
children or other members of your family may be concerned with your
decision if there are disputes within the family. Or, what commonly
arises, is if you have made a decision to appoint your Power of
Attorney when you have not had the required 'legal
capacity' to do so.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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