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What is an Enduring Guardian, and do you need one?

What is an Enduring Guardian, and do you need one?

Published on July 21, 2023 by Kate LathamKate Latham

We can all face circumstances in life where we may become incapable of making decisions due to illness, injury, or ageing. In New South Wales (NSW), the concept of an ‘enduring guardian’ provides a way for you to ensure that your medical, personal and lifestyle decisions are made by a trusted individual when you are no longer capable. This article explains what an Enduring Guardian is and why you might need to appoint one.

What is an Enduring Guardian?

An Enduring Guardian is a person appointed to make decisions on your behalf regarding personal, lifestyle, and health matters when you are unable to make them yourself. This appointment is made through a legal document known as an Enduring Guardian , which grants specific powers to the enduring guardian. You must be over 18 years to appoint an Enduring Guardian and you must have the capacity to make this choice on your own.

What is the role of an Enduring Guardian?

The primary role of an Enduring Guardian is to act in your best interests and make decisions that align with your known wishes, values, and beliefs. They are entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding your well-being and ensuring that your personal matters are handled in a manner consistent with your wishes.

What decisions can an Enduring Guardian make?

1. Your healthcare

An Enduring Guardian can make decisions regarding your medical treatment, healthcare services and living arrangements. They can consult with your doctors, consent to or refuse medical treatment on your behalf, and make decisions regarding surgery, medication, or palliative care.

2. Your accommodation

Your Enduring Guardian can decide on your living arrangements, including choosing a suitable residential facility or home care services based on your needs and preferences.

3. Your home and personal services

They can make decisions regarding personal services, such as organising domestic assistance, transportation, and other support services to ensure your daily needs are met.

4. Other life issues and maintaining relationships

An Enduring Guardian can make decisions related to your social and recreational activities, including participation in hobbies, religious or cultural practices, and maintaining relationships with your family and friends.

An Enduring Guardian cannot make financial decisions on your behalf. They can also not make decisions regarding your money, who you vote for, anything that is against the law, marriage on your behalf or making or changing any Will or Advance Care Directive you may have.

Why appoint an Enduring Guardian?

There are many reasons you should consider appointing an Enduring Guardian and they can include:

  1. Your personal autonomy – by appointing an Enduring Guardian, you retain control over who will make decisions on your behalf when you are incapable. This ensures that your wishes and values are respected, maintaining your sense of autonomy even in challenging circumstances.
  2. Trusted decision making – by choosing someone you trust as your Enduring Guardian it allows you to have confidence that decisions regarding your personal matters will be made by someone who understands your preferences and acts in your best interests.
  3. Certainty and continuity – by appointing an Enduring Guardian you provide clarity and continuity in decision making and ensures that there is a designated person authorised to make decisions on your behalf, avoiding any potential conflict or uncertainty among your family members or your healthcare providers.
  4. Your peace of mind – by appointing an Enduring Guardian you know that you have a trusted person looking out for your best interests which can offer peace of mind, reducing stress and allowing you to focus on your health and well-being.
  5. Legal protection – by appointing an Enduring Guardian through a legally recognised document it provides protection and validity to the decisions made on your behalf. It ensures that the appointed individual has the necessary authority to act in accordance with your wishes.

Appointing an Enduring Guardian is a proactive step towards safeguarding your interests and ensuring that decisions about your personal and lifestyle matters are made by someone you trust. You can contact us at Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers on 1800 059 278 or via our Contact Page if you need help to appoint an Enduring Guardian and one of our lawyers will assist you.

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