If you wish to appoint someone as your Medical Power of Attorney be wary that there are changes to the law commencing 12 March 2018 when the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 comes into operation (bedtime reading link – http://classic.austlii.edu.au/…/num_a…/mtpada201669o2016397/).
You can still make valid Powers of Attorney (Medical) under the current governing regime (Medical Treatment Act 1988) up until 12 March 2018 and these will continue to be recognised as operational and valid by the new governing legislation (ie you will not need to rush to the Solicitor’s office to change the document, unless you intend changing your nominated Attorney or wish to benefit from the new changes to the law).
What do these March 2018 changes mean? Firstly, you can appoint a ‘medical treatment decision maker’ with authority to make ‘medical treatment decisions’ – therefore, a Medical Enduring Power of Attorney will no longer be the governing document.
There will be certain formal requirements to be met when appointing the medical treatment decision maker under the new Act, so be mindful to discuss this with us and not complete your own documents. You can also appoint more than one person in this position, which is different to the current governing Act’s limitation of one primary agent and one alternate.
You will also be able to make ‘advanced care directives’ or ‘values directives’ depending on your intentions and instructions. Contact us to discuss the formal requirements for making these directives to ensure they are deemed valid.
This change does not affect the current legislation governing the appointment of financial or personal matters however does revoke the ‘health care’ perspective of the latter appointment.
The law in this domain is ever-changing, we agree. It can thus be difficult to navigate and becomes confusing. Time only can settle the dust and provide insight as to how these alterations will or will not, work. To an extent the ongoing changes are laudable as the law is developing more and more to recognise and reflect community wishes and expectations and to protect YOU as much as is possible in any foreseen contingencies. Our legal practitioners attend frequent seminars and courses in these jurisdictions each year to ensure we can deliver the most up to date advice, which you our client, deserve and expect.
It is always best that YOU are in control of your OWN future and this necessarily includes forward planning and decision-making as to whom you wish to assist you in financial, medical or supportive roles, should anything happen to you during your lifetime. No-one can predict what can go wrong or when, but we should consider that things often do! Similarly, you should dictate what you wish to happen with your Estate after your death and ensure that your Will is also current and valid at all times; noting also the recent changes made to the intestacy provisions of the Administration and Probate Act (but that’s a topic for another day!). These are some of the services with which we can assist and we invite you to contact us today to discuss these important matters with you: 03 9752 2388.
– Christiana Aprozeanu, Legal Practitioner