What is an Enduring Guardian?
Many people focus on planning ahead for their financial and business affairs by making a Will and a Power of Attorney but do not consider what will happen if they find themselves unable to make lifestyle and medical decisions due to illness or accident.
An Enduring Guardian is someone you appoint to make lifestyle, health and medical decisions for you when you are not capable of doing this for yourself. Your Enduring Guardian may make decisions such as where you live, what services are provided to you at home and what medical treatment you receive.
Enduring Guardianship only comes into effect if or when you lose capacity and will only be effective during the period of incapacity, therefore, it may never become operational. However, it is a good way to plan for the future, particularly for unforseen situations.
An Enduring Guardian and Enduring Power of Attorney
are complementary documents. They can be made separately or together giving you the choice as to who you want to have the authority to make decisions across all areas of your life, if you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.
An Advance Care Plan
and Advance Care Directive
are other important planning ahead documents that do not require a witness but give guidance to those around you when difficult health decisions need to be made.
Appointing an Enduring Guardian may give you a sense of security knowing that if anything happens and you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself you have appointed someone you trust to make medical, health and lifestyle decisions on your behalf. If you lose capacity and have not appointed an Enduring Guardian to make important health and lifestyle decisions, an application will need to go to the Guardianship Division, NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal to have a Guardian appointed for you. If no one suitable is available to be your guardian the Tribunal may appoint an independent Public official called the Public Guardian.