Following the introduction of the new Victorian Powers of Attorney Act 2014 ("the Act") less than twelve months ago, the Powers of Attorney Amendment Bill 2016 ("the Bill") has recently been introduced into Victorian Parliament. Essentially, the Bill proposes to make a number of welcome amendments to the Act by clarifying some existing uncertainties and improving the overall operation of the Act.The Bill, if approved, will come into operation on 1 May 2017, unless it is otherwise proclaimed earlier.
The most notable changes proposed by the Bill are as follows:
- The Bill proposes to clarify that a person can confine an attorney's powers to financial matters only, personal matters only or to particular matters of a personal or financial nature specified in the Enduring Power of Attorney document. This proposed change will not affect any existing Enduring Power of Attorney documents (incorporating financial and personal matters) or supportive attorney documents.
- Currently, the Act is unclear as to whether multiple alternative attorneys (or alternative supportive attorneys) can be appointed in place of a single attorney (or supportive attorney). The Bills seeks to clarify the position by providing that:
- more than one alternative attorney can be appointed for each attorney; and
- a single alternative attorney can be appointed in place of multiple attorneys.
These proposed changes will also apply to the appointment of supportive attorneys and alternative supportive attorneys under the Act.
- The Bill also proposes to introduce a consistent approach in revoking Enduring Power of Attorney documents made under the Act, as well as "old" Enduring Power of Attorney documents made under the Instruments Act 1958 and the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986. Specifically, the Bill proposes that all such Enduring Powers of Attorney will be automatically revoked by the making of a new Enduring Power of Attorney document under the Act, unless expressly stated otherwise within the document. This proposed change will not affect any supportive attorney documents.
- Finally, the Bill seeks to clarify that, in the case of Enduring Powers of Attorney (incorporating financial and personal matters) made under the Act, where an attorney who is appointed to act as part of a majority, no longer acts, so that the remaining attorneys cannot achieve a majority, the remaining attorneys must act jointly – unless otherwise specified in the Enduring Power of Attorney document.