An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) is a legal document that is created to appoint a substituted decision maker. The document is intended to operate in circumstances where the maker of the document (the Principal) loses mental capacity to make certain kinds of decisions for themselves.

In Victoria, there are 2 types of EPOA:

  • Financial
  • Personal (previously known as Guardianship)

EPOAs are very powerful documents because they authorise another person to make decisions about you when you are still alive and able to experience the impact of those decisions. In this respect they are more important than Wills.

If you choose who you would like to appoint into these roles, you can give those appointees as broad or restricted decision making powers as you consider appropriate. However, if you lose capacity without having EPOAs in place, a representative will have to apply to the relevant state or territory Tribunal to be appointed in the role(s).

There are a number of significant disadvantages in not have EPOs in place:

  • There is no guarantee that the Tribunal will appoint the person who applies.
  • Most Tribunals are conservative and confer power to make only the decisions that are absolutely necessary.
  • Making an application to a Tribunal is time consuming and causes delay being able to administer the affairs on behalf of the Principal, whose circumstances may be urgent.