An enduring power of attorney is a good idea in cases of any sudden or gradual onset of a disabling condition. The differences of general powers of attorney, enduring powers of attorney and guardianship are explained.


Philip Grano

Principal Legal Officer, Office of the Public Advocate

Introduction to powers of attorney

Last updated

1 July 2021

When an adult becomes unable to make reasonable judgments because of a disability, the Guardianship List of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) can select and appoint guardians and administrators if necessary. (See ‘Capacity and consent’ in Chapter 8.1: Understanding disability and the law, and Chapter 8.7: Guardianship and medical treatment.)

Generally, a VCAT appointment is not required if an enduring power of attorney already exists. This means that the cost and inconvenience of a VCAT application, a hearing, and ongoing periodic reviews can be avoided. So, it is a good idea to consider providing for some or all of the enduring powers described in this chapter, in case of any sudden or gradual onset of a disabling condition.

The person who appoints a power of attorney is called the ‘principal’.

Note that the general (non-enduring) power of attorney has not been included here as it’s not relevant to the area of disability and guardianship, as it lapses if the principal loses decision-making capacity.

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