Legally appointing someone to make financial decisions

Please be aware that new legislation related to planning ahead – the Advance Personal Planning Bill 2013 – was passed by the NT Parliament in November 2013 and came into effect on 17 March 2014. As changes are made to gradually implement this new legislation, this website will be updated to reflect these changes.

This page provides a plain-English overview of the legal processes involved in planning ahead, as well as links to local information. To get advice about your individual circumstances it is recommended that you consult with one of the agencies referred to below or a legal practitioner.

How do I legally appoint someone to make financial decisions on my behalf?

  • A Power of Attorney is a document by which a person (called the principal or donor) appoints another person (the attorney or donee) to be able to make financial decisions on their behalf.
  • A Power of Attorney may be used by someone wanting to make temporary arrangements – such as getting bills paid while they are on an overseas trip. A Power of Attorney ceases to be valid if the principal loses decision-making capacity, such as through developing dementia.
  • Regulations about appointing an Enduring Power of Attorney – which would remain valid even after the principle lost capacity – were changed in 2014.
  • If someone was appointed as an Enduring Power of Attorney prior to 17 March 2014, this appointment remains valid.
  • There are now two ways to appoint a power of attorney that will remain valid if the principle loses capacity.
  • The first option is to appoint a decision-maker (for financial and other matters) under the new Advance Personal Planning Act 2013.
  • A second option is to complete an Interim form for appointment of decision makers – financial matters (Enduring Power of Attorney).
  • You may want to get legal advice when completing a Power of Attorney or appointing a decision-maker (for financial and other matters), especially if your financial circumstances are not straightforward. You could get this from a private solicitor or trustee, a community legal centre or the Public Trustee.

Links to local resources

To view information about Power of Attorney on the Department of Attorney-General and Justice website, click here

To view information about Advance Personal Planning on the Department of Attorney-General and Justice website, click here

To download a brochure about the Advance Personal Plan, click here

The Public Trustee can be contacted here or by calling (08) 8999 7271.

Council on the Ageing (Northern Territory) Inc (COTA NT) is available on (08) 8941 1004 to discuss the application of the Advance Personal Planning Act or to refer you to appropriate Government support services.

Step 3: Who will the doctor ask to give consent?