Powers of Attorney seminar series

Seminar audience

Hundreds of community members from across metropolitan and regional NSW attended a community education seminar series, “Powers of Attorney: Choose who manages your finances when you can’t” covering details about how to appoint someone else to make financial decisions on your behalf.

Associate Professor Sue Field, lead Investigator of the project that developed the series, partnered with Council of the Ageing (COTA) NSW, to deliver ten seminars across NSW and Sydney that included seminars in Orange, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Central Coast, Wollongong, Sydney CBD, Bankstown, Parramatta, Dee Why, and Rockdale.

The seminar series came out of findings from a CDPC research project titled, “Policy and practices of financial instructions around substitute decision-making”, which showed there was a lack of understanding on the use of Powers of Attorney.

“Overwhelmingly the aspects misunderstood were differentiating between powers of attorney – both general and enduring – and enduring guardianship,” she said.

The one-hour seminars comprise of a presentation by Professor Field followed by a COTA representative outlining tools and resources available should attendees require further information.

Results from the evaluation survey of the series found over 90% of participants thought the content relevant to them and that it increased their knowledge and understanding of Powers of Attorney.

The evaluations, said Professor Field, demonstrated how invaluable the participants found the information.

“The comments during the seminars highlighted the need for further education for the public on the documents that can be put in place, by individuals to ensure that should they be unwilling or unable to manage their financial affairs then they have chosen someone who can manage their affairs,” she said.

Participants also indicated they would take some action because of the information provided. Approximately 80% wanted to find out more about Powers of Attorney, would review their current one and/or investigate appointing a Powers of Attorney.

A total of 283 members from the community participated across the 10 seminars with a gender distribution of 33% male and 67% female with an average age range of 65-74 years.

The link to the presentation is here (or view the video below). Further seminars are planned for other Australian states.