Law Institute of Victoria Supports National Power of Attorney Registry Scheme

Making an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) enables individuals to plan for the future, however, as much as everyone has the right to make their own decisions, there may come a time where you do not have the capacity to make your own decisions, whether it be due to an injury or illness.

By making an Enduring Power of Attorney, it allows you to appoint a person or persons who you trust to make certain decisions on your behalf. You are eligible to make an Enduring Power of Attorney if you are aged 18 years or older and have the requisite capacity to do so.

The Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) has recently introduced their support of a national register where it will provide a reliable source for individuals to efficiently verify that an Enduring Power of Attorney is valid and current, which can minimise the incidence of the Enduring Power of Attorney document being misused for financial abuse purposes.

Far too often we see in practice, a scenario whereby a bank teller is presented with a power of attorney document (even if it has since been revoked or superseded) and happily acts on that basis without seeking to verify that it is, in fact, the current power of attorney document. The introduction of a national register would certainly prevent such a scenario from occurring.

However, there is debate over the design of the register, as, given that it will contain private and confidential information, such as details of a person’s bank accounts and properties, it will need to deal with the issue of what information can be made publicly available or only made available to a registered user who will then pay a fee to view the document and information.

A similar registry system already exists and currently operates in Tasmania with their Land Titles office, where these documents are available to third parties and there is reliance on the register to then determine validity of the document.

We are in total support of the implementation of such a national registry and we will keep you updated as to any developments in this regard.