Life has a nasty habit of throwing curve balls our way. Whether it's a tragic accident or unexpected illness, we may become permanently or temporarily unable to make decisions for ourselves.

Appointing an Enduring Guardian in NSW

Michael Schumacher‘s skiing accident is one example of how a person’s life can change in an instant and why it’s so important to consider appointing an Enduring Guardian.

It’s not pleasant to think of such things, or plan for them to happen, but if something unfortunate does happen to you, you’re going to need to have something in place so that someone close to you can make legal decisions on your behalf regarding your health.

Consider this real-life example

Jim was in his 70s, had never married and lived by himself in a country town, outside Newcastle. He had maintained a close friendship with his next door neighbours, Bob and Susan, for over 10 years. Jim’s only living relative was his younger sister, Barbara, who lived in Melbourne. On her rare visits to Jim’s rural property, she felt it was her right to advise him on what to do and how to live out the remainder of his life.

When Jim unexpectedly suffered from a stroke and spent many weeks in hospital, acting on her own, Barbara got in touch with Jim’s doctor and advised the doctor that Jim should be immediately moved into a nursing home. Luckily for Jim, he recovered and was allowed to go back home. Fearing for his future, Jim discussed the situation with his doctor, lawyer and Bob and Susan. He ended up appointing Bob and Susan as his Enduring Guardians, which meant they would jointly be able to make decisions on his behalf related to his health and future.

Jim told his new Enduring Guardians that he wanted to stay at home and live independently for as long as possible. However, if he continued to decline and was no longer able to make his own decisions, he would reluctantly agree to be moved to a nursing home. He also advised them to keep Barbara in the loop regarding any decisions made on his behalf.

Situations like this can be easily avoided by signing an Enduring Guardian.

Enduring Guardian Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is an Enduring Guardian”?

An enduring guardian is a person you appoint to make decisions for you about your lifestyle (such as the medical or dental treatment you receive, or where you live, or what healthcare services you receive) if you become incapable of making your own decisions.

2. Why do I need an Enduring Guardian?

So that there is someone who you know and trust who can make the important lifestyle decisions for you if you become incapable of doing so.

3. Who can be appointed as an Enduring Guardian?

Anyone you choose who is over the age of eighteen years. Preferably it will be a spouse, child, near relative or other significant person in your life whom you trust absolutely.

4. When should I appoint an Enduring Guardian?

Now or soon, while you still have the legal capacity to understand the document and what you’re doing by signing it.

5. What can my Enduring Guardian do?

Make important decisions about where you live, which doctor you see, what other services you receive, give consent to medical and dental procedures or any other lifestyle decision you nominate.

An enduring guardian cannot manage your finances or deal with your property.

6. When does an Enduring Guardianship start?

When you become incapable of making your own decisions.

7. When does an Enduring Guardianship end?

When you die, or you revoke it or if it is terminated by the Guardianship Tribunal.

8. Can I change my mind after I have appointed an Enduring Guardian?


9. How do I appoint an Enduring Guardian?

By having us prepare the requisite legal document and explaining it to you, and you and your nominated enduring guardian signing it. You should get this done now, while you have the capacity to understand.

The document will be kept in our safe (free of charge), together with your Will and Power of Attorney, and we will provide you with a copy for your own personal records.

10. Why isn’t a Power of Attorney good enough by itself?

While a Power of Attorney lets your Attorney manage your finances or property, it cannot authorise someone else to make personal or lifestyle decisions for you. For example,an Attorney cannot authorise medical treatment or give consent to any medical procedures.

11. Should I also make a Power of Attorney?

Yes. A Power of Attorney and appointment of an Enduring Guardian complement each other. In this way people chosen by you can manage both your financial/property and personal/lifestyle affairs.

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