In New South Wales, you can appoint an Enduring Guardian under the Guardianship Act 1987 to make medical and lifestyle decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself. Any person can be appointed as your Enduring Guardian except for a paid carer.
If you appoint an Enduring Guardian you can authorise them to make decisions about where you live, what medical treatment you receive as well as other lifestyle matters. If you wish for a person to handle your financial or legal affairs you must appoint them under a Power of Attorney, which is a separate document.
If you have particular wishes about medical treatment or care, appointing an Enduring Guardian enables you to discuss those wishes with that person. You can also place specific directions or limitations in the document appointing them.
If you do not have an Enduring Guardian and are unable to make medical decisions for yourself, another person close to you will make decisions for you. The Guardianship Act 1987 sets out who can make decisions in these circumstances and this is your spouse (including a de facto spouse) or if you do not have a spouse, your carer or a close friend or relative.
Appointing an Enduring Guardian is particularly important if you do not have a spouse or if your spouse may not be available to make decisions for you. By appointing an Enduring Guardian, you ensure that the person who makes decisions for you is the person of your choosing and you have the opportunity to discuss with them your wishes about what kinds of treatment you may or may not wish to receive. This can bring peace of mind at any age but becomes quite important as you get older.
If you would like to appoint an Enduring Guardian or if you need advice about other estate planning matters, contact Althea at Hornsby Wills and Probate on 0410 485 277 or by email: email@example.com