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.

Many people, when planning their financial futures, do not consider the situation where they find themselves unable to make a lifestyle or medical decisions due to an illness or an unforeseen accident. Everyone has specific wishes (which they may have not even told anyone else about!) regarding certain medical treatments and lifestyle choices. You should consider drafting a document which sets out what you would like to happen to you if 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. We also strongly recommend that that you consider appointing a substitute Enduring Guardian, in case something happens to your principal Guardian.

Your Enduring Guardian will also be able to make decisions as to the the following:

  1. Type of health care you are to receive;
  2. The consenting and rejecting of different medical procedures;
  3. Decide where you are to live and what services are provided to you at home.

Remember the Enduring Guardian can be drafted so that they only are able to be used if you lose capacity.  This means 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 appoint a substitute decision-maker for your general health and lifestyle.  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. This binds any health professional  making decisions 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. If you only wish to draft one document we recommend that it is the Enduring Guardian. This is because your trusted Guardian is able to make decisions regarding all of your health and lifestyle needs.

We recommend that you have your Advance Care Directive and Enduring Guardianship as separate forms. This provides you with the flexibility to adjust your Advance Care Directive in the future as your health conditions change.

Written by Cameron Spanner

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