Guardianship and Advance Directives
Guardianship for “adults” is the process of the formal appointment of a substitute decision-maker in the event that the person loses
capacity to make lifestyle and medical type decisions for themselves. The most common “powers” given to this type of substitute decision-maker include:
- Deciding where the person will live;
- Deciding what services, they will receive;
- Providing medical and dental consents;
- Deciding which medical services may be provided.
An Adult Guardian can be appointed by a Deed under the Guardianship Act 1987 or alternatively by order of the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) or the Supreme Court of NSW. The appointment under a Deed only becomes activated once the person has lost capacity to make decisions for themselves.
An Advance Directive, however, is a more detailed instruction in writing to the Guardian about how the person would like their decision-making role to be exercised. It usually includes information about how they wish to be cared for and by whom and what medical treatment they do or do not want.
An Advance Directive can include a person’s wishes about any aspect of their life. It is also possible to have an Advance Directive setting out in writing how and under what circumstances significant medical decisions should be made without the formal appointment of a Guardian by way of Deed or Court Order.