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

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.