An Enduring Guardian allows you to authorise another person (known as your Guardian) to make medical and lifestyle decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make those decisions for yourself. For example, your Guardian can make decisions about where you live, your medical care and the treatment you will receive including end of life decisions. Your Guardian can only act for you in the event you become mentally incapacitated. An Enduring Guardian does not relate to financial decisions.
Why have an Enduring Guardian?
Having an Enduring Guardian means that, prior to developing an incapacitating illness, you can choose a Guardian and give them directions about the medical decisions you want them to make for you.
Anyone who has a family history of illnesses that cause mental incapacity such as dementia or stroke should consider having an Enduring Guardian. They are also commonly prepared by people who have strong views about what treatment they want (or do not want) to receive at the end of their lives (such as artificial life support).
Who should you appoint as your Guardian?
You choose who you want to appoint as your Guardian. If you are married, it is usual to appoint your spouse. It is also common to appoint an adult child or children if your spouse cannot act for you. Due to the nature of the decisions your Guardian would be making for you, you should only appoint a trusted person who will carry out your wishes.