An Appointment of Enduring Guardian and an Advanced Care Directive are both documents in which you are able to make your wishes known, regarding who you wish to make your health and welfare decisions and what those decisions are. These documents are important and only come into effect if you are no longer able to make those decision any longer.
Appointment of Enduring Guardian
This is a legally prescribed document, usually prepared by your lawyer, where you can appoint an enduring guardian to make your health and welfare decisions for you, but only if you became incapable of making those decisions. Decisions your enduring guardian could make include, deciding where you live, organising any health care or personal services you may need and consenting to medical and dental treatment. You can also provide directions to your enduring guardian, so if certain situations arise, your enduring guardian knows what you would wish them to do.
You can appoint more than one enduring guardian. If you do so, you need to decide how you wish your enduring guardians’ appointment to operate. If you appointment one enduring guardian then you should always appoint another as an alternative or if you appoint two people as enduring guardians then you can appointment them, jointly (they need to make all decisions together) or jointly and severally (where either of your enduring guardians can act, without the other).
Your lawyer should explain this to you when obtaining instructions to prepare the document. They will also usually see your appointed enduring guardian to explain the document to them and to have them accept their appointment.
As a lawyer does not usually have a medical background, any directions put into an Appointment of Enduring Guardian document do not usually contain detailed medical information. This is where an Advanced Care Directive is important.
Advanced Care Directive
There is no prescribed document for an Advanced Care Directive, however there are suggested forms put out by New South Wales Health and other organisations.
It is always best to have your wishes regarding your health and welfare in writing and using one of the recommended forms is a good option. Similarly, to the Appointment of Enduring Guardian document, your directions/wishes under the Advanced Care Directive will only be followed if you became incapable of making your own health and welfare decisions.
As the Advanced Care Directive refers to medical treatments / options, to ensure you understand these, it would be prudent to complete this document and have it witnessed by your doctor or other health care professional, who can explain the various treatments / options available to you.
If you have an Advanced Care Directive, it is important the person you appoint as your enduring guardian is aware you have this document and either, you provide a copy of the document to them or let them know where the document is held. Your enduring guardian is the legally appointed person who can ensure your wishes are put into effect if you are no longer able to make those decisions.
If you have any questions in relation to the Appointment of Enduring Guardian or Advanced Care Directive or you need assistance with the preparation of an Appointment of Enduring Guardian, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.