Enduring Guardianship

Who needs an Enduring Guardian?
Everyone over the age of 18 should have their enduring guardianship in place. You should particularly appoint an enduring guardian if:

  1. You are in a relationship – if you have a serious accident and are unable to provide doctors with the necessary authority, they may not be able to operate on you, provide you with medical or dental treatment or make decisions around life support. Your enduring guardian is able to give that approval to the doctors on your behalf.
  2. You single – if you are young and travelling, older and single or separated; then you will want to be able to choose who can make decisions on your behalf if you become seriously injured or for some other reason you are unable to make decisions about your medical and dental health, where you live and what other personal services you require. This is particularly the case if you have separated and you no longer want your ex to be able to make these decisions about you.
  3. You are an older person who may need assistance now or are planning ahead to ensure that trusted family or friends are able to make decisions for you. These decisions might include where you should live or what personal services you might need to receive such as home care or Meals on Wheels, that can help you to stay in your own home for longer, even if you can’t quite manage things on your own.

What is an Enduring Guardianship?
An enduring guardianship is a very important document. It provides authority for a person of your choosing (called your guardian) to make decisions for you in relation to your physical needs and about where you will live if you are unable to make those decisions because you are too sick to make those decisions for yourself. In most cases, we recommend that you make this appointment ‘enduring’ so that if you lose your mental capacity, your guardian will still be able to make decisions and take care of your needs.

What can my Enduring Guardian do?
Your enduring guardian can make decisions about what medical and dental treatment that you receive. This includes everything from approving major surgery to ensuring that you have regular medical, optical and dental check ups. This is vital for every one no matter how old you are as you never know when an accident might occur. Your enduring guardian can make decisions where you live given physical or mental health condition that you are suffering from, what kinds of health services such as physiotherapy you might need and what personal services you might require such as Meals on Wheels, home care assistance or other services that help you stay in your own home.

When can I appoint an Enduring Guardian?
You can appoint an Enduring Guardian at any time, but you must be mentally able to make do so and you must understand the impact and seriousness of the power that you are giving. If you do not have the mental capacity to understand these things, you are unable to appoint an enduring guardian.

When does my Enduring Guardian get this power?
The enduring guardianship document will specify when your enduring guardian gets this power. Usually, the power will be given to your enduring guardian only when you are physically or mentally unable to make these decisions on your own.

How long does my Enduring Guardian have the power to act for me?
The enduring guardianship power will last as long as it is required. This means that it will last as long as you are either mentally or physically unable to make these decisions for yourself. You can revoke the power from your enduring guardian at any time as long as you have mental capacity. This is important in case you have a falling out with your enduring guardian (for example, where a married couple separates or you no longer speak with the person that you nominated).