One of the most often used documents by many authorised witnesses is the ‘Take Control Booklet’ published by OPA (Office of the Public Adovcate). Up till now they have always included a copy of the relevant documents that can be filled out by the user for Powers of Attorney and recently Medical Care Directive.
During the COVID-19 period an update of the booklet was issued in April 2020, which has not been noticed by many authorised witnesses, until recently.
During a communication session it was mentioned by an Honorary Justice that they have received a few copies of the latest version of the booklet and found that the detachable forms have now been deleted from the booklets. To be able to access the forms requires for the user to go online and download them separately from the OPA website. Additionally they are now only providing access to the booklets through online download. However, if a call is made to OPA explaining that they are to be used by authorised witnesses they have provided some hard copies; for how long this will continue is not clear.
The explanation given on the OPA website is….OPA has changed its focus of advice about powers of attorney by stressing the importance of future planning as opposed to just filling out forms. As such, the hard copy version of the DIY powers of attorney booklet, Take Control, is no longer be available.
This online version includes links to where you can find the forms.
Download of book is at: https://www.publicadvocate.vic.gov.au/resources/booklets/advance-planning-booklets/474-take-control-1/file
The new booklet as a ‘black circle’ on the front stating that you can ‘Find links to the interactive forms inside’.
The actual forms are available at: https://www.publicadvocate.vic.gov.au/resources/forms
This page has the links to each of the specific forms….that can be downloaded.
For such a major change to the existing system to happen without one of OPA’s key stakeholders not being informed is disappointing! Something to be followed with up with OPA, so that Authorised Witnesses are included in the discussions before any proposed changes are rolled out.
As this is a major change we strongly recommend that you review and update your files / booklets / forms as required.
Paul Mracek JP FRVAHJ