Enduring power of attorney
The Guardianship List at VCAT hears and decide applications related to enduring powers of attorney.
An enduring power of attorney gives the attorney the right to make some kinds of decisions on behalf of someone else. The power of attorney stays in place even if the person who appointed the attorney stops being able to make their own decisions.
Definitions of principal and attorney
The principal is the person who has appointed an attorney to act on their behalf.
The attorney is the person appointed to act on behalf of the principal.
For example with an enduring power of attorney, if you are the principal, that means you have appointed an attorney to act on your behalf. You have given them enduring power of attorney.
The Office of the Public Advocate has more information about how to make powers of attorney.
Before you apply
If you apply to revoke the appointment of an attorney you must provide VCAT with a report from a doctor who has assessed the principal and found that person to have lost the capacity to make a decision. Once the principal has lost decision-making capacity, only VCAT can revoke the enduring power of attorney. You must also be able to show that the appointed attorney is not complying with their roles as defined in the Powers of Attorney Act 2014.
You can apply to VCAT if you are the principal, the nearest relative of the principal, an attorney or supportive attorney under the enduring power of attorney, or someone who has a special interest in the affairs of the principal. Complete the application form, lodge it with VCAT and send a copy to all the people you named in the application form. You do not need to pay an application fee.
Need help with your application?
VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.
Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.
Decide who pays the costs of representation
If you are an attorney who is a party to a power of attorney hearing at VCAT you may want to be represented by a lawyer. You must decide whether this is a cost you should pay personally or whether it is a reasonable expense that can be paid from the principal’s finances.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality. For more about applying for confidentiality.
Legislation that applies to this type of case
Cases VCAT can hear
VCAT can hear and decide applications about:
- an attorney's power under the enduring power of attorney
- whether the power is valid
- cancelling (revoking) or suspending the enduring power of attorney
- varying the enduring power by revoking the appointment of one attorney
- auditing accounts or other documents
- compensating the principal for a loss caused by the attorney.
When you apply, we check your paperwork to see if you have provided everything you need to and have followed the proper process. We may schedule a directions hearing, where a member sets a process and time frame to hear the case. After receiving your application we may contact you for more information. In other matters, we listed for a hearing. Learn about what happens when VCAT opens a case.
If we need you to attend a compulsory conference, we will advise you. A compulsory conference is a confidential process where we allocate a member to guide you and other parties through a process to explore whether the issues in dispute can be resolved without having to go to a contested hearing. Read more about resolving a case by agreement.
If you prepare a written statement of your claim, file it with VCAT and provide a copy of it to other parties. If you don’t provide the material in time this might cause a delay. The other parties will need time to respond to your claim. Prepare early so you can present the best possible case. Make sure you give others enough time to assist you, to prepare a report or appear as witnesses at a hearing if that is required.
For information to help you prepare for the hearing, see how to prepare for your final hearing.
For information about our accessibility services and other support services, see our page about customer support at VCAT.
It is the responsibility of the applicant and other interested parties to attend the hearing. You should arrive 15 minutes before the allocated time and follow directions to the hearing room. Wait outside the hearing room and the member or a clerk announces when parties should move into the room. The hearing gives all parties a chance to give and hear evidence, ask questions, call witnesses and provide supporting documents. Learn about what happens on final hearing day.