Appointing an enduring guardian has its benefits

Date: Jul 03, 2012

There are various aspects of the estate planning process to take into account, with writing a will often being one of the most common.

Something that many people may not have given consideration to is appointing an enduring guardian, despite the fact that doing so can bring all manner of benefits.

An enduring guardian is responsible for taking health and lifestyle decisions out of your hands when you no longer have the mental capacity to be able to do so.

Not only can this give you peace of mind that your best interests will be given consideration, but can also be comforting to your loved ones as well.

Some of the decisions that might be made on your behalf include where you live, the type of healthcare you receive, consenting to medical and dental treatment and the services? you require.

It is possible to appoint just one enduring guardian or several, although you will have to determine whether they have the capability to act jointly or separately.

In order for your enduring guardian to be legally recognised, a form of appointment needs to be signed in front of an eligible witness.

This person can be an Australian legal practitioner, approved officer from the NSW Trustee and Guardian or a registrar of the local court.

All parties are required to understand what the role entails, although it is not a requirement for them all to sign the to same form simultaneously in the same place.

In New South Wales, laws relating to enduring power of attorney were amended in 2003 to no longer include health and lifestyle issues.

It is therefore important to recognise that if you have established an enduring powers of attorney, then the appointees will only have control over your financial and property transactions and not your overall wellbeing.

You need to be sure that the enduring guardian you select is able to consider your views from both past and present, and that they will take into account the advice of professionals and other important people in your life.

There are instances when you are able to change your enduring guardianship, but only if you still have the mental capacity to do so.

Should one or more of your guardians say they are no longer able to fill the role then you may make a change - the same can be said if one of them dies.

If you are no longer able to trust your guardians then you have grounds for making an amendment.