Amendment eases enduring power of attorney

  • John Carter
Senior Citizens

A change to the enduring power of attorney law finds the balance between protecting rights and dealing with the real-life situations of older people, Senior Citizens Minister John Carter said today.

"Protecting the rights and interests of older people is one of my key priorities," Mr Carter said.

"So I am happy with the recent amendment to the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 that makes it easier for two people to appoint each other their enduring power of attorney.

"This technical amendment addresses an issue that was brought to my attention as a problem, especially for older couples.

"These couples and other mutual appointees can now seek advice and use independent witnesses from the same law firm or trustee corporation.

"Prior to this amendment, each person had to go to a separate law firm or trustee corporation. Many couples had a trusted law firm and were unhappy with this.

"It presented a problem for couples living outside cities in particular, those accessing services in smaller towns that may have only one law firm. That situation left one person having to travel, sometimes considerable distance, to consult someone they didn't know and didn't necessarily feel comfortable with.

"This small amendment provides the essential balance between protecting older people's rights and the reality of dealing with people in real-life situations."

The amendment was effective from 7 July 2010. A full review of the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 is set for 2013.