What is an Enduring Power of Guardianship?

An Enduring Power of Guardianship (EPG) is a legal document that authorises a person of your choice to make important personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions for you should you ever become incapable of making these decisions yourself. This authorised person is known as an enduring guardian.

An enduring guardian can be authorised to make decisions such as where you live, what support services you could access and what treatment you might receive.

An enduring guardian cannot be authorised to make property or financial decisions on your behalf.

You should consider setting up an Enduring Power of Guardianship when you write your Will.

To make an Enduring Power of Guardianship you must:

  • be 18 years of age or older
  • have full legal capacity (this means you must be able to make a formal agreement and understand the implications of statements contained in that agreement).

The person you appoint as your enduring guardian must also be 18 years of age or older and have full legal capacity.

You can appoint more than one enduring guardian as joint enduring guardians but they must act jointly which means they must reach agreement on any decisions they make on your behalf. If you plan to appoint more than one enduring guardian, it is important that you consider their ability to work together on your behalf.

The Public Advocate recommends you appoint no more than two joint enduring guardians.

You may also appoint substitute enduring guardians, who would take over decision-making responsibilities, in the event that one or more of your enduring guardians was unable to continue in the role.

The scope of authority given to your enduring guardian is determined by you when you make your Enduring Power of Guardianship

You may authorise your enduring guardian to make the same range of decisions as a plenary guardian, who is appointed by the State Administrative Tribunal.

This would enable your enduring guardian to:

  • decide where you live, whether permanently or temporarily
  • decide who you live with
  • decide whether or not you work and, if so, any matters related to that work
  • make treatment decisions on your behalf to any medical, surgical or dental treatment or other health care (including palliative care and life-sustaining measures such as assisted ventilation and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation)
  • decide what education and training you receive
  • determine who you associate with
  • commence, defend, conduct or settle any legal proceedings on your behalf, except proceedings that relate to your property or estate
  • advocate for and make decisions about the support services you access
    seek and receive information on your behalf

Alternatively, you may restrict the decision-making authority of your enduring guardian. For example, you may authorise your enduring guardian to make decisions about any treatment you receive, but not about where you live or who you associate with.

When making an Enduring Power of Guardianship you must also determine the circumstances under which your enduring and substitute enduring guardians will act.

For example, you might direct that your enduring guardian act only when they are in the same State as you.

Sourced from: Office of the Public Advocate  https://www.publicadvocate.wa.gov.au/E/enduring_power_of_guardianship (1 Nov 2019)

For further information on this and other Estate Planning services please phone Homevisitwills on 1300 870 900 or email team@homevisitwills.com.au