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With an estate plan in place, you can be confident that if something happens, your affairs will be managed smoothly, avoiding unnecessary red tape, stress and money for your loved ones

Previously, we asked readers what they wanted to know more about. And thanks to our readers’ feedback, we’re now focusing on enduring guardianship.

What is enduring guardianship?

An enduring guardianship identifies who you want to make decisions about your medical, personal, and lifestyle affairs, if you lose capacity and can no longer make these decisions yourself. This document is used in New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia.

In other Australian states and territories, decisions about medical, personal and/or lifestyle affairs must be covered by other legal documents. For example, in Victoria, an attorney under a Power of attorney may make decisions about lifestyle affairs and decisions about medical treatment can only be made by a medical treatment decision maker under an Appointment of medical treatment decision maker. OR, For example, in Queensland, an attorney under an enduring Power of attorney can also make personal (including health) decisions. 

Your medical, personal and lifestyle affairs include things like consenting to medical treatment, deciding where you live, what health care services you receive and making end of life decisions such as life support.

If you lose capacity and don’t have the right documents in place, then a person responsible under guardianship law may be able to make decisions or someone may need to apply to a state or territory tribunal to be appointed to make decisions.

Aware Super Estate Planning Advice

Our estate planning lawyers are able to tailor estate plans to suit your individual circumstances. Their goal is to understand your needs and preferences and help you prepare a plan that achieves your desired outcome. They can also work closely with your financial planner to coordinate your financial affairs. 

An estate planning lawyer can help protect your choices

It’s possible to create a legally binding document without visiting a lawyer. Power of attorney and Guardianship DIY kits are sold in Post Offices and newsagents.

However Aware Super’s Estate Planning Lawyer, Michelle Dixon points out that the upfront cost savings of completing the legal documents without a lawyer need to be weighed up against the costs of completing the documentation incorrectly.

“For instance, there are particular signing and witnessing requirements, in order for it to be legal. Then there’s the question of where will you store it? At the very least the person you’ve appointed should know where the original is.”

The other legitimate concern for people is what can go wrong by letting someone have control of their money or medical, personal, and lifestyle affairs. Michelle believes that’s where legal expertise provides the most value.

“It can happen, and we’ve all heard the stories of it going horribly wrong. But there are ways to reduce or mitigate the risks of bad things happening.”

An estate planning expert can help you create a power of attorney that protects you from being taken advantage financially or actions that go against your express wishes. And, also help you create a legal document where you choose who can make medical, personal, and lifestyle decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself.

Once you have a power of attorney and/or enduring guardianship in place, it’s possible to change or update these documents at any time if you still have capacity.

Like all financial decisions, it can be hard to let someone have control of your money or your personal affairs. An estate planning expert can help you create a power of attorney and/or enduring guardianship that protects you from someone taking advantage of you.

Start your estate planning 

  1. Have a discussion with those close to you about your wishes and intentions.
  2. Consider who you trust to make decisions you would want and their suitability of taking on the role.
  3. Find out if the person or people you have in mind are willing to take on the responsibility of taking on the role.
  4. Seek advice from a lawyer or your financial planner on what needs to be considered for your circumstances.

Need expert advice?

To set up your own guardianship, be sure to book an Estate Planning  appointment. Make an appointment by calling us on 1300 192 602.

Hear from an estate planning lawyer at our free online event.

Find out more about estate planning with Aware Super.


1This is general information only and does not take into account your specific requirements, situation or needs. You should seek professional legal advice and consider your own circumstances in relation to your estate planning needs. Estate planning services are provided by Aware Super Legal Pty Limited (ACN 606 835 170), an Incorporated Legal Practice, which is wholly owned by Aware Super. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Financial planning services are provided by Aware Financial Services Australia Limited, ABN 86 003 742 756, AFSL No. 238430.