What does it do?
Similar to a Power of Attorney, an appointment of Enduring Guardianship allows another person or persons to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. A Power of Attorney allows the attorney to make financial and legal decisions, whereas an Appointment of Enduring Guardian makes medical and lifestyle decisions. They are easily confused!
Who should you consider?
When considering who you trust to make these decisions, consider: does the person have similar views to lifestyle, medical treatment and end of life decisions. Presently, the law does not allow for a professional carer or treatment provider to be appointed as your guardian. Your guardian must follow your wishes and hold your interests and welfare as the paramount consideration for all decisions they make on your behalf.
What is the process?
As with a Power of Attorney where the attorney(s) have to sign the document to accept their appointment, so too does the guardian(s) need to sign, however, in addition to their signatures they also need to receive a certificate of legal advice confirming that they understand the effect of the document and are voluntarily signing it. Because the certificate requires legal advice, a JP cannot sign that part of the document. In contrast to the Power of Attorney, there is no person or body that supervises these documents once made. The Guardianship Tribunal can become involved of there is a conflict.
What does it not do?
This document does not deal with the important decision of organ donorship. If this is something you wish to do, please tell your family of your wishes! It is thought that the majority of Australians support the idea of being an organ donor. However, if they forget to tell their family or when the family is asked by the hospital about organ donorship they decline based on their own views, not knowing what to do or possibility the great shock of losing a loved one. You can also record your decision on the Organ donor online registry, currently found here.