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I have been nominated as an Attorney

What decisions can I make as an Attorney?

When you are appointed as an attorney you will be acting for the person who makes the power of attorney, who is called the principal.

The decisions you make as an attorney will depend on the type of appointment, and whether there are additional restrictions in the document. (The terminology used below is relevant to Victoria, but similar considerations apply in other Australian jurisdictions. You should always check the terminology and other details relevant to the appointment types in your particular jurisdiction.) For example, an enduring power of attorney (financial) empowers an attorney to make financial and/or property decisions on behalf of the principal.

This may include decisions relating to:

  • day-to-day personal finances
  • payment of bills
  • management of property
  • completion of tax returns.

An enduring power of attorney (personal) empowers you as the attorney to make decisions relating to non-medical personal and lifestyle affairs.

This may include decisions relating to:

  • where the person lives
  • who the person lives with
  • what education or training they will receive
  • whether they go on a holiday and where they go

If you have been nominated under an Enduring Power of Attorney for both financial matters and personal matters, then you can make decisions that relate to both financial and personal matters.

The appointment of supportive attorney (currently only available in Victoria) allows you as the supportive attorney to help in decision making, whilst the principal still has decision making capacity. Unlike other types of powers of attorney, as a supportive attorney, you can’t make decisions but you can assist with collecting information, communicating decisions to others and giving effect to the decisions made.

What types of decisions am I not able to make as an attorney?

There are a range of decisions and actions you cannot be authorised as an attorney to make.

These are typically decisions that must be made personally by the principal:

  • voting in elections
  • making or revoking a will
  • making or revoking a power of attorney
  • consenting to getting married or divorced
  • making decisions about the welfare of children

How State Trustees can help

We can help prepare your Powers of Attorney, recommend options and provide you with independent and impartial advice so that you can make the best possible decision.

If you need additional information about Powers of Attorney, please call us on 1300 138 672.

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