An Enduring Guardian is the person you legally appoint to make decisions about your health and lifestyle in the event you cannot make those decisions yourself.

There may be a time in your life when you need someone to make important health and lifestyle decisions on your behalf, such as deciding where you live and what medical treatment you receive.

This could be due to a temporary or permanent loss of decision-making ability caused by illness, injury, or disability – which can happen at any time in life.

Your Enduring Guardian is only empowered to make health and lifestyle decisions on your behalf when you lose the ability to make those decisions yourself.

A doctor or specialist can be called upon if it is unclear if you have the capacity to make health and lifestyle decisions.

An Enduring Guardian can only make health and lifestyle decisions on your behalf.

You should make an Enduring Power of Attorney if you want to empower someone to make financial decisions on your behalf should you lose the capacity to make those decisions yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the appointment of an Enduring Guardian end?

The appointment continues for as long as you need it unless:

  • you revoke or cancel it while you have mental capacity to do so
  • your Enduring Guardian resigns from the role, dies or is unable to carry out the role
  • the appointment is changed or revoked by the Guardianship Division of NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) or the NSW Supreme Court.

Furthermore, if you marry after you appoint an enduring guardian then the appointment will automatically be revoked (unless you married your enduring guardian).

What decisions can be made by an Enduring Guardian?

Your Enduring Guardian only makes decisions in the areas you outline, these might include:

  • where you live and the services you might receive
  • healthcare, medical, and dental treatment you receive.

They can also:

  • apply for extra decision-making authority if circumstances are more complex or you need extra support
  • consult on decisions during your end-of-life stage and advance care plans.

What decisions can't be made by an Enduring Guardian?

Your Enduring Guardian cannot make decisions about:

  • your money
  • who you vote for
  • marriage on your behalf
  • anything that is against the law
  • saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to special treatments, such as those that will prevent you having children, terminating a pregnancy, restrictive practices or new treatments that have not yet been reviewed by medical industry experts
  • making or changing your advance care directive and making or changing your Will.

Can an Enduring Guardian make financial decisions on my behalf?

No. To make financial decisions on your behalf, you can appoint someone under a Power of Attorney document. This can be the same person as your Enduring Guardian.

Who should I appoint as my Enduring Guardian?

They should be someone you trust such as a spouse, family member or friend.

If you do not have an Enduring Guardian and decisions need to be made on your behalf, a court or tribunal may need to appoint someone to make decisions for you.

It is essential the person you appoint:

  • is willing to take on the role
  • can make decisions in difficult and emotional circumstances
  • understands your needs, wishes, values and beliefs
  • is easy to contact when decisions need to be made
  • understands they won’t be paid to undertake this role.

You cannot appoint a professional person like your doctor or assisted living facility provider to be your Enduring Guardian unless they are your carer and are receiving the Centrelink Carer’s Allowance.

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