Power of attorney protections increased in Queensland

Article published 9 December 2020

Power of attorney protections increased in Queensland

ON 30 November 2020, new laws in Queensland took effect that say a person cannot appoint their paid carer as an enduring power of attorney if they have worked for them in a carer role within the last three years.

Currently, Victoria and Queensland are the only states to ban the appointment of a paid carer as an enduring power of attorney. A paid carer is someone who is paid a fee or wage to look after another person. This does not include someone receiving the Carer Payment or someone living with you who receives the Carer Allowance.

An enduring power of attorney is a legal document that appoints a person to make financial and personal decisions on your behalf. If you lose capacity to make decisions your enduring power of attorney will potentially have complete control over all of your affairs. So, it’s important that this power is reserved for someone you really trust.

Andrew Simpson, national head of wills and estates at Maurice Blackburn law firm said, “Giving a paid carer power over the affairs of the vulnerable person they are paid to look after is in our view a dangerous blurring of professional and personal lines that increases the risk of financial abuse”.

Financial abuse is the most prevalent form of elder abuse in Australia. The rest of Australia needs to follow Queensland’s lead and enforce stronger laws to protect older Australians.

Banning paid carers from becoming enduring powers of attorney would be a good start.

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