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By Hadyn Ori­ti

Fun­ny things can hap­pen in life. One day everything’s run­ning along just fine, then some­thing comes along to remind you that you are only human.

Increas­ing­ly, as we age, we need to think about what arrange­ments we have in place for when we may not be able to look after every­thing as we do now. That’s where an attor­ney (as in a pow­er of attor­ney) or an endur­ing guardian comes in.

Your attor­ney should be a trust­ed per­son who you appoint to man­age your affairs and make deci­sions for you even if you lose capac­i­ty to make deci­sions for your­self.

A pow­er of attor­ney is a very pow­er­ful doc­u­ment and enables your attor­ney to act with all the pow­er that you may have to deal with your prop­er­ty and finan­cial affairs. For exam­ple, they can oper­ate your bank account and buy and sell prop­er­ty. The law pro­vides that they must act in your best inter­ests. But (and it is a big but) there is no one look­ing over their shoul­der as they exer­cise the pow­er; so you real­ly do need to trust them (and have some checks and bal­ances).

With respect to an Endur­ing Guardian, you should appoint a per­son you trust to make deci­sions about med­ical treat­ment you receive if you lose the capac­i­ty to do this for your­self. They may decide:

  • where you live;
  • your health care;
  • what per­son­al ser­vices you receive; and
  • con­sent (or not) to your med­ical treat­ment.

Impor­tant­ly, your guardian may refuse med­ical treat­ment if you at a ter­mi­nal stage and uncon­scious, even if that refusal of med­ical treat­ment was to lead to your death.

Accord­ing­ly, you must be sat­is­fied that your guardian will car­ry out your wish­es in respect of such mat­ters.

Should you require any fur­ther infor­ma­tion, please con­tact Hadyn Ori­ti on (02) 6583 0449 or horiti@dohlaw.com.au.

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