Appointment of enduring guardian – what is it, and why should you make one?

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January 12, 2013 by Todd

Life can sometimes throw curve-balls at us, and therefore it is important to be prepared.  An appointment of enduring guardian is an important part of any plan for your future.

An appointment of enduring guardian is a legal document which allows you to choose another person to make decisions for you about where you live, what health care and personal services you receive, and whether to consent to medical and dental treatment, if you can’t make those decisions on your own.

Now, you may be wondering why you need an appointment of enduring guardian.  If you are in hospital, and you can’t make decisions about urgent treatment which you require, a doctor can treat you without obtaining consent.  If the treatment is not urgent, your spouse, de facto partner, carer or close friend or relative can give that consent for you.

But what happens after that?  What happens if you can’t make decisions about where you live, assessments by specialists, personal care, house cleaning, shopping or domestic support?  What if you need to spend time in respite care, such as a nursing home?  For those sorts of decisions, you need to appoint someone as your enduring guardian.

There are certain things which your enduring guardian cannot do for you.  Your enduring guardian cannot:

1. Make a decision which is against the law (such as euthanasia);

2. Make or alter your will;

3. Vote on your behalf;

4. Consent to you marrying someone;

5. Consent to medical treatment which does not promote or maintain your well-being, or which you do not want;

6. Consent to “special medical treatment” such as sterilisation, termination of pregnancy or experimental treatments;

7. Make financial decisions.  To appoint someone to do that, you need to make a power of attorney.

8. Do something which breaches the appointment of enduring guardian.

It makes sense to have a plan in place in case something unexpected happens.  Contact us now to take the first step.


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