Before you apply - Powers of attorney
Decisions on issues about enduring powers of attorney or supportive attorney appointments.
Find out if you're in the right place
What we can help with
- Suspend, cancel or vary the appointment of an enduring power of attorney or supportive power of attorney
- Decide if an appointment is valid
- Determine the liability of attorneys
- Resolve disputes between attorneys
- Order compensation for loss caused if an enduring attorney does not comply with the Powers of Attorney Act 2014
- Decide whether a transaction by an attorney is valid
What’s an enduring power of attorney?
An enduring power of attorney is a legal document that allows a person to appoint someone else to make decisions about their personal or financial affairs.
It stays in place even if the person giving it loses the capacity to make their own decisions.
What’s a supportive attorney?
A supportive attorney supports people with disability to make their own decisions about things that affect them.
The person who has appointed an attorney to act on their behalf is called the ‘principal’.
What we can't help with
- make new powers of attorney
- make new supportive powers of attorney
Contact the Office of the Public Advocate
Can’t see what you’re looking for?
- Appoint a guardian or administrator, a supportive guardian or supportive administrator, reassess or cancel these appointments – see Guardians and administrators
- Challenge a medical treatment decision – see Medical Treatment and Advance Care Directives
- Review decisions made by the Mental Health Tribunal – see Mental Health
- Orders about treatment for people with an intellectual disability – see Disability Act
- Access to medication to end the life of a person with a terminal illness – see Voluntary assisted dying
- Review decisions about the collection of your health information, decisions by the Patient Review Panel or Chief Medical Officer – see Privacy and health records
Urgent applications and temporary orders
We can make an urgent order that covers a short time period if there’s an immediate risk of harm to someone’s health, welfare or property. If you are seriously concerned about someone who is, or may need to be, represented:
- Contact the Office of the Public Advocate any time, including after hours, for an urgent temporary order
- The OPA contacts us and we can make an urgent order without a hearing
We’ll review the order at a hearing as soon as possible.
Get help and advice before you apply
We can help you understand how to apply. We cannot give you legal advice or tell you what to write in your application. These organisations may be able to help you.
Case 1: When a power of attorney is no longer what you need
You have an enduring power of attorney for your sister so you can manage her finances and medical treatment decisions. You have been unwell and also busy at work, so you don’t have time to be an attorney.
Your brother has come to VCAT because he believes your sister no longer has the capacity to make her own decisions. He wants to take on the role of decision-maker.
After talking to VCAT, you both understand that you can apply to have the power of attorney suspended, and to apply for the appointment of a guardian and administrator to make financial and lifestyle decisions for her.
Case 2: Support to come to VCAT
You’re a social worker and one of your clients needs to come to VCAT for a hearing. You’re worried that they may not cope and will need support when there. You can contact VCAT by email or phone to get practical support on the day (for example, accessibility information, a hearing loop or interpreter).
You can also arrange for them to attend remotely by phone if it is too difficult for them to travel.
Help and support
How can I get help with my application?
We can help you understand what the form is asking. If you need to help to fill in the VCAT application form, talk to us.
- Call us on 1300 018 228 (1300 01 VCAT), Monday - Friday 9am - 4.30pm. For guardianship cases call us 9am - 5pm.
- If you’re overseas, call us on +61 3 8685 1462.
- If you need to speak to someone in your own language you can ask for an interpreter. Call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
- ask you questions about what you want
- explain what the questions mean
- explain what documents you need
- explain the process.
We can’t give you legal advice. This means we can’t:
- tell you what to write
- give you advice on how to present your case
- give you advice on how to win the case.
If you do choose to get legal advice, you’ll need to pay their fees (if any).
If you want to talk about what you should do, you can access free or low-cost legal advice or find a private lawyer.
How do I get an interpreter?
If you need an interpreter, contact us to arrange a professional interpreter (at no cost to you) before the hearing.
Make sure you ask for an interpreter as early as you can.
We connect with a large network of interpreters in 160 languages. Tell us in English what your language is when you ask for an interpreter. It’s best to ask when you apply to VCAT or as soon as possible after we’ve sent you your hearing date.
We don’t allow a relative or friend to interpret for you at a hearing.
What support is there for people with disability?
Most of our hearing locations are accessible. Contact us for accessibility information about a venue.
We can also organise support for people with disability at VCAT.
- We can arrange an assistive listening device or hearing loop for your hearing, compulsory conference or mediation. Contact us so we can have these facilities ready for you.
- You can also ask to attend VCAT by telephone.
Our disability liaison officers can support you to access our services and venues.
Ask for a disability liaison officer to help:
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call us on 1300 01 8228.
How does VCAT support Aboriginal people?
We offer support to ensure VCAT is culturally safe and inclusive for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We can help you with:
- booking a Koori hearing room
- organising a Koori Engagement Officer to attend your hearing or mediation with you
- general information and advice about VCAT processes.
Call our Koori Helpline to speak to a Koori Engagement Officer on 0417 516 335, Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm.
Read more about Koori support at VCAT