Enduring Guardian vs Advanced Care Directive – Which document do I need?

At Adams & Partners, we pride ourselves on helping you plan for the future. One of the most common ways that we do this is by helping people like yourself draft Wills and Powers of Attorneys. As most people know, a Will and Power of Attorney are estate planning documents which are used for managing financial and business affairs.

However, whilst planning for their financial future not many people consider the situation where they find themselves unable to make lifestyle or medical decisions due to an illness or an unforeseen accident. Many people have specific wishes (which they may have not even told anyone else about!) regarding certain medical treatments and lifestyle choices. As such, you should consider drafting a document which sets out what you would like to happen to you in the event that you are unable to make the decision for yourself.

Ta da! This is what an Enduring Guardian & Advanced Care Directive documents are for. But how do you know which one is right for you?

Enduring Guardian

This is document number one in planning for the future!

An Enduring Guardian is a document you draft, where you appoint someone else who you trust to make health and lifestyle decisions for you.  In the event that you are married or in a long term de-facto relationship, we advise you to appoint your spouse or partner. If you are single, we recommend that you appoint either a trusted family member or close friend. At Adams & Partners we also strongly recommend that that you consider appointing a substitute Enduring Guardian to rely upon, in the event that something happens to your principal Guardian.

Your Enduring Guardian will also be able to make decisions as to the type of health care you are to receive, the consenting and rejecting of different medical procedures, to decide where you are to live and what services are provided to you at home. The key thing to remember about the Enduring Guardian is that we draft the documents so that they only are able to be used if you lose capacity. You must remember that your Enduring Guardian is only able to use their powers during the period of incapacity.

Advanced Care Directive

An Advanced Care Directive is different to an Enduring Guardian. As we now know, an Enduring Guardian is the formal legal way to appointment a substitute decision-maker in relation to your general health and lifestyle.  However, an Advance Care Directive is a different document and sometimes is referred to as a “Living Will”.This is because an Advanced Care Directive is a document which dictates your specific directions that must be considered before any medical decisions are made by any health professional regarding your health and wellbeing.

We recommend that you still discuss these types of decisions with the people who are most important to you along with your GP before drafting an Advanced Care Directive.

So, which one do I choose?

The easiest answer to this question is that it is best to have both an Enduring Guardian and an Advanced Care Directive. However, if you only wish to draft one document we recommend that it is the Enduring Guardian, as your trusted Guardian is able to make decisions regarding all of your health and lifestyle needs.

Furthermore, if you wish to draft both documents, we recommend that you have your Advance Care Directive and Enduring Guardianship as separate forms as this provides you with the flexibility to adjust your Advance Care Directive in the future as your health conditions change.

At Adams & Partners we are able to help you draft all estate planning documents.

If you need any assistance with this process or have any questions, please contact us on 4721 6200.

Cameron is an up and coming young lawyer who started with Adams & Partners Lawyers in 2017.