Estate Planning Essentials - Enduring Guardianship & Living Wills

Posted by Malcolm Campbell on 18 October 2017
Estate Planning Essentials - Enduring Guardianship & Living Wills

Enduring Guardianship

This document is similar to a Power of Attorney but it relates specifically to the power to make decisions regarding where you live, who cares for you and other physical and health related issues. The appointment of guardianship only takes effect if you become unable to make your own personal or lifestyle decisions.


You can choose which decisions you want your guardian to make. These are called "functions" and you can direct your guardian how to carry out the functions. You can give your guardian as many or few functions as you like.

A guardian cannot:

  • Consent to anything unlawful;

  • Make a Will for you;

  • Vote on your behalf;

  • Consent to marriage;

  • Manage your finances; or

  • Override your objections, if any, to medical treatment.

    The person(s) appointed to be a guardian cannot be a person who, at the time of the appointment:

  • Provides medical treatment or care to you on a professional basis; or

  • Provides accommodation services or support services for daily living on a professional basis; or

  • Is a relative of one of the above.

    An appointment of enduring guardian can be revoked if you are of sound mind. A new person may be appointed as guardian, and/or the functions or directions given to the guardian(s) can be changed by completing a new form of appointment.

An appointment of enduring guardian should be kept in a safe place and another person should be told where it is currently kept. We suggest giving copies to significant people in your life including your doctor.

Advance Health Care Directive

An Advance Health Care Directive ("Living Will") is a document that states your wishes or directions regarding your future health care for various medical conditions. It comes into effect only if you are unable to make your own decisions.

You may wish your directive to apply at any time when you are unable to decide for yourself, or you may want it to apply only if you are terminally ill.

Anyone who is over the age of 18 and is capable of understanding the nature of their directions and foreseeing the effects of those directions can make an Advance Health Care Directive.

If you are considering making an Advance Health Care Directive, you should think clearly about what medical treatment you want to receive if you become ill. For example:

  • If treatment could prolong your life, what level of quality of life would be acceptable to you?

  • How important is it to you to be able to communicate with family and friends?

  • How will you know what technology is available for use in certain conditions?

    It is strongly recommended that you discuss these matters with your doctor before completing a directive.

The purpose of an Advance Heath Care Directive is to give you confidence that your wishes regarding your health care will be carried out if you cannot speak for yourself. However, a request for euthanasia cannot be followed, as this would be against the law.

Contact us for advice regarding how these documents can assist you.