How to know when to appoint an enduring guardian
You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed and confused by the legal, financial and care decisions you need to make as you or a loved one grows older. Two very important legal arrangements are enduring guardianship and power of attorney, which are designed to protect us when the unexpected happens. An enduring guardian gives someone you trust the right to make decisions for you when you’re no longer able to make choices for yourself.
Although not everyone will need to make use of enduring guardianship or power of attorney, the earlier you put these arrangements in place, the better. No one knows what’s around the corner – but you can always prepare for what might happen. It will give you confidence that you or your loved one’s wishes will be carried out.
You might already have reached a point in your life when you would like someone to manage your affairs for you. Or perhaps you are finding that your health, poor eyesight or difficulty in making decisions are affecting your judgement. If you’re unsure about whether you should consider appointing an enduring guardian now, talk to your KinCare Customer Care Manager. We’re always here to provide you with the advice and assistance you need to make these important decisions.
What is an enduring guardian?
An enduring guardian is a trusted person who is legally appointed to make health and lifestyle decisions for you when you cannot make these decisions for yourself. You can appoint an enduring guardian yourself – which is why it’s best to make this important decision as early as you can. Or if you’re caring for a loved one who can no longer manage their affairs, you can obtain permission to act and make decisions on that person’s behalf.
The formal legal document you sign to appoint an enduring guardian is called an Enduring Guardianship.
What can an enduring guardian make decisions about?
An enduring guardian can only start making decisions on your behalf when you lose capacity to do so yourself, and they will have this responsibility for as long as needed. However, they cannot make decisions about everything for you. Their decision-making is restricted primarily to everyday living and healthcare, such as:
- where you live
- which in-home care services you receive
- the medical treatments you are given, including palliative care and life-extending treatments
The areas that an enduring guardian cannot make decisions on your behalf about include:
- your money
- financial matters
- legal matters
- the way you vote
- anything that’s against the law
How to appoint an enduring guardian
Each state and territory may have different requirements in relation to enduring guardianship. Be sure to speak with a lawyer or relevant agency for up-to-date advice.
Generally speaking, to appoint an enduring guardian, you and the person who is appointed as your enduring guardian must complete and sign a form. All signatures must be witnessed by an eligible person, such as a legal practitioner, Registrar of the Local Court, or Public Trustee official.
You don’t need to lodge your form with any department, but it’s a good idea to keep it with your other legal documents and make a certified copy for your enduring guardian to store safely.
You may wish to include some directions or information on your form to assist your enduring guardian with making decisions.
You can change your mind about enduring guardianship at any time
If you wish to change or withdraw your enduring guardian, you can do so by filling in a form to revoke the appointment. Again, you’ll need to do this with an eligible witness and once complete, give it to your guardian.
Even if you decide not to appoint an enduring guardian, starting to think about how you might manage your affairs as you get older is a good way to prepare for the future. And if you care for an elderly relative or friend, starting this discussion early can relieve some of the stress you may feel.
For more information click on the link below that relates to your State or Territory or contact a solicitor.