A person who is planning ahead for decisions they may need to make in the future will be able to choose someone they know and trust to be their attorney. This is written down in an enduring power of attorney.
An attorney’s role is to make certain decisions on behalf of the person, if they lose the ability to make those decisions in the future. These decisions will be about the person’s welfare or their property and money matters.
A person can choose more than one person to be their attorney. They will have to write down whether they want their attorneys to make decisions separately, or together, or both.
You do not have to be a lawyer to act as an attorney, but you do need to able to perform the functions written down by the person in their enduring power of attorney.
This is similar to being appointed as an attorney under the Powers of Attorney Act 1996. It is different because under the new law, an enduring power of attorney may include healthcare decisions. It is also different because under the new law, we will supervise attorneys and make sure they are doing their job correctly.
Who can be an attorney?
You can become an attorney if you are an adult (18 years and over). You do not have to be a lawyer, but you must be able to perform the functions in the enduring power of attorney.
Some people cannot be an attorney. You are not allowed to be an attorney if you:
• have been convicted of an offence against the person
• are financially insolvent (unless the agreement only relates to personal welfare decisions)
• are the owner or a registered provider of a designated centre or mental health facility where the person lives (unless you are a relative of the person)
What is involved in being an attorney?
As an attorney, your role will be to make certain decisions on behalf of the person. You can only make decisions that are listed in the enduring power of attorney.
Monitoring and supervision
Attorneys will have to send a written report to us every year.
These reports will include details of big decisions taken as part of the agreement.
How do I become an attorney?
If a person wants you to be their attorney, they will make an enduring power of attorney.
How to find out if someone is an attorney?
When we are sent an enduring power of attorney, we will review it and provide the person and their attorney with a certified copy of the agreement. This will confirm that the attorney has the legal authority to make certain decisions on behalf of the person. The certified copy will be able to be requested by anyone who may have dealings with the attorney
Making a complaint about an attorney
Any person can make a complaint about an attorney. Complaints must be made in writing must be for one of the following reasons:
- the attorney is making, or is trying to make, decisions that are not included in the agreement
- the attorney is unable to perform their role
- fraud, coercion or pressure was used to get the person to make the enduring power of attorney
Find out more about making a complaint about an attorney, by clicking on the complaints section here.