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23 April 2012 Accidents happen. the importance of appointing your Enduring Guardian and Enduring Power of Attorney

By Phillip Briffa, Solicitor


In Brief

Generally we prefer to make our own decisions concerning our personal lives and finances.  But what happens if we lose our mental capacity, due to injury or accident, and are rendered unable to make such decisions ourselves?

You can plan for your future by appointing an enduring guardian and enduring power of attorney.  If properly drafted, both appointments 'endure' beyond you losing mental capacity.  This means the powers granted under the appointments remain effective even after you lose mental capacity.


So what is an enduring guardian and enduring power of attorney?

Enduring Guardian

An appointment of enduring guardian is used to appoint a person to make lifestyle decisions on your behalf.  It is important that you choose the right person for this role, since the powers given to your guardian under this appointment are wide and concern issues of a highly sensitive nature.  For instance, your guardian may:

  • decide where you will live, for example - in a hostel or nursing home;
  • decide what health care and personal services you will receive, for example - treating doctor, home support services;
  • provide consent for you to receive minor and major medical treatments; and/or
  • refuse medical treatment on your behalf, in circumstances as directed by you in your appointment of enduring guardian, even if that treatment is necessary to prolong your life and the refusal of the treatment will lead to your death.
Enduring Power of Attorney

An appointment of enduring power of attorney is used to appoint a person, usually somebody trustworthy and with investment management skills, to make financial decisions on your behalf.  For instance, a power of attorney gives your attorney the authority to:

  • buy and sell real estate (once your power of attorney is lodged with Land and Property Information), shares and other assets on your behalf; and
  • operate your bank accounts, spend money and give reasonable gifts on your behalf.
Act today, not tomorrow

Whilst it is not possible to stop illness or accidents from happening, you can decide now who should make such sensitive decisions for you if you ever lost the capacity to make these decisions yourself.


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This article is not legal advice and the views and comments are of a general nature only. This article is not to be relied upon in substitution for detailed legal advice.

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