Enduring powers of guardianship

Who can make healthcare decisions, give consent for your medical treatment or make lifestyle decisions if you are severely incapacitated?  In the event you suffer a terminal condition, who can make the decision if you would want to not unnecessarily prolong your life?

Lifestyle decisions when you lose capacity can cause family grief and the potential for conflict.  An Appointment of Enduring Guardian authorises someone you trust to make those hard decisions that you would want made, but cannot lawfully make because you lack capacity.

Your guardian can authorise:

  • healthcare decisions
  • consent for medical treatment, and
  • lifestyle decisions such as when you live and what personal services you receive

Diane, a Registered Nurse, brought Susan, her elderly mother, to Kells for advice.  Diane knew her mother wanted an Enduring Power of Guardianship.  Susan had informed her daughter "I do not want to be kept on a machine, or artificially alive if there is no chance of a quality life."  Diane knows that hospital doctors need lawful instruction and an Enduring Power of Guardianship now appoints Diane to lawfully make decisions on her mother's behalf if she is severely incapacitated and the need arises.

You can include a direction as to end of life decisions should you suffer from a terminal condition.  This is not euthanasia.  You lack capacity.  Your guardian confers with your medical team and makes the best decision for you, as they believe your wish would be.

Not every person will need to appoint a guardian.  Kells has advised clients in situations such as:

  • where a spouse is incapable
  • where a couple is separated, but not divorced
  • in same-sex relationships (especially where the relationship is not acknowledged by family), and
  • in long enduring friendships where the trusted friend is the appropriate decision maker, rather than the next of kin.

For the right professional advice, contact our Wills & Estates team for a consultation.