Are you concerned about your future care and welfare arrangements?
Are you concerned about the future care and welfare arrangements of family members such as a parent or grandparent?
Do you want to be able to determine how your care and welfare is maintained in the future?
These are all very important questions as we age and possibly reach a time when we cannot make such decisions for ourselves, when it may be all too late.
Prior to 1 July 2014, you could pre-determine the control of your care and welfare arrangements by granting a Power of Guardianship whereby you could appoint a “guardian” to manage your care and welfare should you become incapable of doing in the future.
You could also appoint a “medical agent” to make your critical medical decisions for you under a Medical Power of Attorney.
Difference between Advance Care Directives and Powers of Guardianship, Medical Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Attorney
While Powers of Guardianship and Medical Powers of Attorney which are signed prior to 1 July 2014 are still legally valid, no such Powers are able to be created after 1 July 2014 which is why an “Advance Care Directive” form will need to be used when dealing with both care and welfare arrangements and future medical care and treatment.
An “Advance Care Directive” allows a person to set out their own guidelines and requirements in terms of:
- How decisions about their future healthcare and other personal issues are to be made;
- What medical treatment and other healthcare they specifically refuse to have in certain circumstances.
Instead of people having a “guardian” appointed under a Power of Guardianship or a medical agent appointed under a Medical Power of attorney, you or your family member are able to appoint a “substitute decision maker” in their Advance Care Directive.
Unlike an Enduring Power of Attorney, which deals with legal and financial issues only, an Advance Care Directive covers personal matters such as your future health care, residential and accommodation matters and personal affairs.
Also unlike an Enduring Power of Attorney, it is not necessary to appoint a substitute decision maker in your Advance Care Directive.
An Advance Care Directive is your personal blueprint of how you want to be cared for in the future
You can simply use your Advance Care Directive as a personal blueprint about how you want to be dealt with by health providers and family members in the event you are no longer able to make your own decisions, instead of leaving these decisions to authorities such as the Guardianship Board of South Australia.
Like an Enduring Power of Attorney, an Advance Care Directive gives you or your loved one the ability to plan ahead, at a time when you’ve got capacity, about how you wish to have your personal and medical affairs taken care of if and when you lose capacity, whether you decided to appoint a substitute decision maker or not.
Beware the Government DIY Advance Care Directives Kit
Although the Government has created a website, advancecaredirectives.sa.gov.au, and a DIY Advance Care Directives kit for personal use, we urge you to consider obtaining our advice in relation to the drafting of the form. It is important to appreciate that ambiguities and disputes can arise with respect to the preparation, construction, interpretation and implementation of advance care directives, and the Guardianship Board and the Supreme Court of South Australia still have powers to intervene in the event of disputes.
It is better to be safe than sorry.
We urge you to consult us well “in advance” by calling us on 8237 0559 and making an appointment to discuss your circumstances and what should happen to you in the future when you’re no longer able to make your own decisions.