Upcoming changes to Enduring Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Directives
23 November, 2020Power of Attorney
In Queensland, the Power of Attorney Act 1998 (the Act) enables a person (the Principal) to put in place legal documents that enable other people to make decisions for the Principal when they no longer have the capacity to make decisions.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
The most well-known of these documents is the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA), which allows the Principal to appoint a person (or people) (the Attorney) to make financial and/or personal and health decisions on their behalf. The Attorney’s power to make personal and health decisions will only begin when the Principal no longer has capacity. However, the Principal can authorise the power to make financial decisions to begin immediately, upon the Principal losing the capacity to make decisions, or upon another occasion.
Advance Health Directives
The second of these documents is the Advance Health Directive (AHD), which is a legal document that enables the Principal to give directions to their Attorneys and the Healthcare Providers about their future healthcare. It is also possible to appoint Attorneys (in relation to personal and health matters) under an AHD. The Principal may also use the AHD to give directions to their Attorneys regarding future consent (or withholding of that consent) to medical treatment in the future and can also be used to outline future specific medical treatments including withdrawing life-sustaining measures.
Updates to the Powers of Attorney Act
On 30 November 2020, the Queensland Government’s changes to the Act will come into effect. Among other changes to the Act, this update will also result in new EPOA and AHD forms coming into effect. As such, as of 30 November 2020, if anyone wishes to put in place a new EPOA or AHD, they must use the new forms.
If someone has validly put in place an EPOA using the old form prior to 30 November 2020, it will continue to be valid.
If someone has validly put in place an AHD using the old form prior to 30 November 2020, it will continue to be valid. The only exception to this is where the AHD has been used to appoint an Attorney who is a service provider for a Residential Service where the Principal is a resident. If this is the case, the Principal’s AHD will be revoked to the extent that it gives the service provider the power to make personal and health decisions for the Principal.
If you have an Enduring Power of Attorney or Advance Health Directive and are concerned about its validity or if you are looking to put in place a new Enduring Power of Attorney or Advance Health Directive, the experienced team at Bell Legal Group can discuss your options and advise and assist you with this process.
For further information and assistance on any estate planning or estate administration matter, please contact a member of our experienced Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning Team at Bell Legal Group on (07) 5597 3366 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any queries regarding this article or need legal assistance please call us on 07 5597 3366 or fill out the ‘Contact Us‘ form at the bottom of the page.
Please note that this article has been prepared by Josephine Vernon, solicitor at Bell Legal Group, for information purposes only. It is not legal advice nor should it be relied upon as such.