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Advanced Health Care Directive and Appointment of Enduring Guardianships

Woman and child

If you are unwell or required to undergo surgery, you may wish to prepare a health care directive.

A health care directive (or advanced health care directive) is a document which records your wishes and expectations about your health care and medical treatment for the benefit of your Doctors or Guardians (or Power of Attorney, depending on what jurisdiction you are in) should you be in a position where you are seriously ill or injured and unable to make or communicate decisions about your care and treatment.[1]..

When completing your health care directive, it is important to discuss your wishes with your Doctors and loved ones.

Your health care directive should work in conjunction with your Appointment of Enduring Guardianship document which is where you legally appoint your guardian to ‘step into your shoes’ to make decisions regarding your health, medical or dental care on your behalf when you are unable to make those decisions yourself.

Your Appointment of Enduring Guardianship document may have directions and functions which are the same as what is in your health care directive and that is OK. This just means that you are directing your Guardian, through the document, to exercise certain powers which are also specified to be in your wishes in your health care directive.

If you wish, you may attach a copy of your health care directive to your Guardianship document, however, you may also have them separate and refer to your health care directive in your Guardianship document. This will allow you to change your wishes in your health care directive as desired, rather than executing a new Appointment of Enduring Guardianship document every time.

Consideration to your Appointment of Enduring Guardianship and Enduring Power of Attorney documents is an important aspect of your estate planning. For further assistance or questions regarding the contents of this article or your estate planning, please do not hesitate to contact our office on 02 6206 1300 or abetts@elringtons.com.au.


[1] In New South Wales, the ‘Enduring Power of Attorney’ document comprises of two legal documents. The Appointment of Enduring Guardianship documents concerns medical, dental and health care matters and the Enduring Power of Attorney document concerns financial and property matters. In the ACT the ‘Enduring Power of Attorney’ is one document and concerns both aspects.

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