On 1 September 2015, the Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (The Act) introduced new civil and criminal penalties for misuse of an enduring power of attorney. The new penalties include a fine of up to $91,000 or up to five years imprisonment.
From 1 September 2015, the witnessing requirements for an enduring power of attorney have been significantly tightened.
The signing of an enduring power of attorney by the principal (the person giving the power) must be witnessed by two people. One of these witnesses must be either a person who is authorised to witness affidavits (such as lawyers, judges, members of the police force ranked sergeant or above, parliamentarians or justices of the peace) or a medical practitioner. Previously, it was only a requirement that one of the witnesses needed to be authorised to witness statutory declarations.