The Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 , provides the legal framework for three tools that can enable adults to exercise an element of control over how decisions will be made on their behalf should they ever lose the capacity to make decisions for themselves. These include:
An Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a legal agreement which allows any individual to appoint someone, such as a close family member or an agency (like the Public Trustee) to make financial decisions on their behalf. This person is known as your Attorney.
Through an EPA you can authorise your Attorney to make property and/or financial decisions on your behalf, you can also restrict them from making certain decisions. Further, you can elect when an Enduring Power of Attorney will take effect.
The EPA can take effect immediately, including while you still have legal capacity to make your own financial and property decisions. Or, the EPA can take effect after you have lost legal capacity. With the latter, the State Administrative Tribunal will determine whether you have lost legal capacity on application by your Attorney .
An Enduring Power of Guardianship
An Enduring Power of Guardianship on the other hand, authorises an individual to make personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions on your behalf if you ever lose the capacity to make these decisions for yourself. This person is known as your Guardian.
Advanced Health Directive
An Advanced Health Directive (AHD) allows you to plan what medical treatment or health care you would like in the event that you cannot make decisions for yourself. An AHD is used to express your wishes in a general or specific way, such as stating that you do not wish to receive artificial nutrition and hydration.
You can also include medical information about yourself that health professionals may need to know, such as special health conditions, allergies to medications as well as religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs that could affect your care.
These options are available to help protect the rights of adults with decision-making disabilities, in order to reduce the risk of neglect, exploitation and abuse. Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you require assistance with any of the options discussed in this article.