From the office of Gerard Mansour, Commissioner of Senior Victorians
On 22 June 2017, I was pleased to launch a new publication Your voice – Trust your choice – Tips for seniors making enduring powers of attorney. In my capacity as the Ambassador for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, listening to the stories of some senior Victorians, I saw a need for additional information to assist people to understand the significance of enduring powers of attorney and the potential for misuse.
Your voice – Trust your choice is a practical guide to help older Victorians to safely appoint a Power of Attorney. An enduring power of attorney is where you give someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. The majority of enduring powers of attorney work well. Unfortunately, in some cases, family members, carers or friends abuse their authority as power of attorney and take advantage of that authority. This is one of the most devastating forms of elder abuse.
The booklet includes helpful tips, case studies, and sample wording to encourage older people to safely decide upon an enduring power of attorney. It is a companion booklet to Office of the Public Advocate’s Taking Control: a guide for making enduring powers of attorney. In particular, this guide will assist older people to minimize the risk of abuse when appointing an enduring power of attorney, so that:
- it captures their wishes about decisions that are made on their behalf
- ensures that the right people are involved in decisions that are made on their behalf
The booklet has been a joint project with the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) and funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. It is available on the OPA website http://www.publicadvocate.vic.gov.au/power-of-attorney. A single hard copy can be obtained by contacting OPA on 1300 309 337. Multiple copies are available from Victoria Legal Aid, via their website https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/free-publications-and-resources or phone 1300 792 387.