ACT state specific information that may help you in legal planning after a diagnosis of dementia.
Legal resources to assist people with dementia and families and carers of people with dementia
The information is not provided as a substitute for legal advice.
The financial planning tools available to you in the ACT are:
Wills allow you to decide how your belongings and property will be distributed after you die.
See the Law Society of the ACT for more information on making a will.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
The appointment of someone to look after your financial arrangements and make decisions about your medical treatment and day to day life if you later lose the legal capacity to look after these things yourself. You can choose for the EPA to commence immediately, or only after you have lost capacity.
For more information on Enduring Powers of Attorney see the Public Advocate of the ACT website.
Centrelink and Department of Health and Ageing Nominee Arrangements
The appointment of someone specifically to look after dealings with Centrelink and the Department of Health and Ageing.
You may also find the Centrelink fact sheet on authorising a nominee helpful.
Planning for medical & lifestyle decisions
The tools you can use to plan for medical and lifestyle decisions are:
Enduring Powers of Attorney
In the ACT you can make one power of attorney that will allow the person you appoint to make financial, medical and lifestyle decisions on your behalf after you lose the legal capacity to make such decisions for yourself. For more information on Enduring Power of Attorney in the ACT, see the booklet The Power to Choose by the Public Advocate of the ACT.
These are statements written by you which say what sort of medical treatment you want to have or not have after you are no longer able to make these decisions for yourself.
The Medical Treatment Act allows you to make a ‘direction’ refusing medical treatment generally, or to refuse a particular type of medical treatment. You have to follow a certain procedure to make a direction.
Guardian and Management Orders
These are orders made by the Guardianship and Management of Property Tribunal appointing a guardian to make decisions for you if you have lost legal capacity and you have not appointed someone to make decisions on your behalf. Phone (02) 6217 4282. The Tribunal can also appoint the Public Trustee to look after your financial affairs if there is no other appropriate person to appoint.
It is especially important to make arrangements for a family member or friend that you trust to be a substitute decision-maker for you because in the ACT your spouse or next of kin has no automatic legal right to make decisions about your medical treatment on your behalf. Once your decision making ability is lost, the Guardianship and Management of Property Tribunal will need to appoint a guardian for you.
Resources to help you plan
The best place to find more information about planning ahead for financial decisions and medical and lifestyle decisions is the Public Advocate for the ACT information on substitute decision making. The Public Advocate of the ACT also has further information about Guardianship and Management Orders.You can contact them on : 02 6207 0707
You may find the resource 'The Power To Choose Booklet' available on the Public Advocate of the ACT website useful.
Your doctor is a good person to speak with about making a direction as he or she is one of the people that must sign a direction before it will be legally effective.
Centrelink has fact sheets and more detailed publications about appointing a nominee to look after your arrangements with Centrelink.
General Telephone: 13 2300
Telephone for Persons with a Disability and Carers: 13 2717
The Department of Health has information about appointing a nominee to look after your arrangements with them if you live in residential aged care. Phone the My Aged Care helpline on 1800 200 422.
Advance Care Planning
Advance care planning is a process enabling a patient to make decisions about his or her future health care in consultation with their health care providers, family members and other important people in their lives. An Advance Care Plan is one way of putting your plan into writing. The written Advance Care Plan helps people to accurately remember what you want and makes it easier to communicate these wishes to doctors and nurses who do not know you. For more information about how to make an advanced care plan see the Respecting Patient Choices Website.
Driving with dementia
Dementia will increasingly affect your ability to drive safely and may affect your insurance cover. You have a legal obligation to tell the Department of Urban Services about your dementia.
Phone 02 6207 7000 or TTY 02 6207 7108.
See the sections on driving & dementia and related supporting documents for more information.
You may find the Help Sheet - Driving & Dementia useful.
Austroads’s publication Assessing Fitness to Drive gives detailed information about driving when you have dementia or any other disability. You can order a free hardcopy on 02 9264 7088.
The Financial Ombudsman Service is a National service which assists in resolving disputes between consumers and insurers (or other financial service providers) that are members of the Service. The Service also provides general information about any general insurance matters. Telephone 1300 78 08 08 (local call).
Dementia and your employment
You may notice that the effects of dementia begin to affect your work. If you wish to continue working, your employer generally has a legal responsibility to take reasonable steps to help you to keep working.
If you own your own business or you are a director of the company, remember that you have obligations that you must fulfill, such as keeping accurate accounting records and meeting your tax obligations. Your dementia may affect your ability to fulfill these obligations.
See the help sheet - Employment and Dementia
The Disability Discrimination Legal Service may be able to assist you with questions about discrimination and in your employment and in other areas of your life.
Phone: 02 6247 2018
TTY: 02 6247 2018
The Legal Aid Office, phone (02) 6243 3411 or 1300 654 314, and the Women’s Legal Centre, (02) 6257 4499 or 1800 634 669, may also be able to assist you. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has information about employment, disability and your rights.
Phone: 1300 369 711
TTY: 1800 620 241
Capacity to vote
Some individuals may feel it necessary to remove the person with dementia from the electoral roll, especially when entering residential care. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) can provide steps on how to remove a person from the Commonwealth roll, by calling 13 23 26. See the relevant FAQ on the AEC website for more information.
Carers, family & friends
If you are concerned that a family member or friend has lost their ability to manage their own affairs you should speak with thePublic Advocate of the ACT. You should also speak with the Public Advocate if you are concerned that a person with dementia is being exploited or abused.
Phone: 02 6207 0707
The Guardianship and Management of Property Tribunal may be contacted on 02 62174282.
Carers ACT also have a Carer Advisory Service, which can be contacted on 1800 242 636 which may provide more information on legal issues for carers.
Other resources & websites of interest in the ACT
The Law Society of the ACT can be contacted for information about legal matters in the ACT.
Phone: 02 6247 5700.
Centrelink’s Financial Information Service may also be useful to you at a future date. The Financial Information Service (FIS) helps people to make informed decisions about investment and financial issues for current and future needs. FIS is free, independent and confidential. This service may be useful if you are confused about residential care options and your financial circumstances with Centrelink. You may also contact FIS by calling 13 2300.
Please contact us on 02 6255 0722 if you wish to comment on the information included in this page or know of useful resources which could be included.