There is virtually universal agreement among most Australians that they wish to make things as easy as possible for their family and friends and that Wills, Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship documents are worth having. Despite this less than 10 per cent of Australians have appointed an enduring guardian, which results in many people, who are responsible for managing a loved ones affairs, being unsure of what their wishes were in relation to health and lifestyle decisions. They may be uncertain of where their loved one wished to live, or did not know what medical treatment and healthcare they wanted. This confusion could have been avoided by appointing an enduring guardian.
An enduring guardian is someone you appoint to make health or lifestyle decisions on your behalf. You are able to choose which kind of decisions you wish your enduring guardian to make and are able to provide them with directions on how to carry out their functions. When you appoint an enduring guardian you are able to choose who you want to make decisions for you should you lose the capacity to do this for yourself. The appointment only takes effect if you lose the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself.
An enduring guardian only makes health and lifestyle decisions – they cannot make a decision about your money or assets (this requires a Power of Attorney) or consent to medical treatment if you choose to refuse.
The person you appoint as your enduring guardian should understand their responsibilities as a substitute decision maker and be someone you trust to be able to take into account your views, previous lifestyle choices and make decisions in your best interests.
To appoint an enduring guardian, you need to complete a ‘Form of Appointment’ which is available at www.planningaheadtools.com.au or by calling 1300 887 529.