Making a Will and appointing a Power of Attorney gives you control over your finncial and business affairs in the event of your death but what happens if you find yourself in a position whereby you are unable to make lifestyle and medical decisions due to illness or accident?
An Enduring Guardian is someone you appoint to make lifestyle, health and medical decisions for you when you are not capable of doing this for yourself.
Enduring Guardianship only comes into effect if or when you lose capacity and is only be effective during the period of incapacity, therefore, it may never become operational. However, it is a good way to plan for the future, particularly for unforeseen situations.
The most common decision making areas or functions for an Enduring Guardian are:
- Accommodation – to decide where you live: respite care, aged care facility or hospital.
- Health Care – to decide what health care you receive . This function gives authority to your Enduring Guardian to choose or change your doctors (or other health care professionals) and make decisions about end of life treatment such as palliative care.
- Services – to decide what personal services such as attendant care, domestic support, recreational services you should have to support and assist you.
- Consent to medical and dental treatment – to give or withhold consent to medical and dental treatment on your behalf.
- It is not possible for your Enduring Guardian to consent to medical treatment or dental treatment on your behalf when you object to that treatment.
Your Enduring Guardian cannot consent to anything unlawful and cannot:
- Make a will for you
- Vote on your behalf
- Consent to marriage
- Manage your finances or
- Override your objections to medical treatment.
Appointing an Enduring Guardian may give you a sense of security knowing that if anything happens and you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself you have appointed someone you trust to make medical, health and lifestyle decisions on your behalf. If you lose capacity and have not appointed an Enduring Guardian to make important health and lifestyle decisions, an application will need to go to the Guardianship Division, NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal to have a Guardian appointed for you. If no one suitable is available to be your guardian the Tribunal may appoint an independent Public official called the Public Guardian.