Welcome to the Autumn 2013 edition of the ABKJ newsletter.
In this issue…
Should I have an Enduring Power of Attorney?
The answer is yes. In the unfortunate, and often unforseen, event of you losing the capacity to make health and/or financial decisions, an Enduring Power of Attorney will enable a person nominated and trusted by you to make those decisions on your behalf.
If you were to lose capacity and not have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place, the Adult Guardian (formerly the Public Trustee) will assume legal responsibility for your financial (and in certain circumstances, health) affairs unless a family member or friend applies for an Order from the Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal seeking to appoint someone else. This process can be stressful to your family as well as costly and time consuming.
By having an Enduring Power of Attorney in place, you will be ensuring that any decisions requiring attention can be immediately dealt with by your chosen Attorney. It will only apply whilst you are alive and will not interfere with the terms of your Will.
You can change or revoke an Enduring Power of Attorney at any time whilst you have capacity. It is recommended that you consider reviewing your Enduring Power of Attorney every two (2) years or if your circumstances have changed.
What is an Advance Health Directive?
If you are concerned about the type of health care decisions which may be made on your behalf if you lost capacity, an Advance Health Directive can be a useful document.
An Advance Health Directive is designed to enable you to leave detailed instructions/directions for your family, friends and health care providers regarding the type of health care you wish, or do not wish, to receive. For example, whether you would like to be resuscitated or whether you have religious beliefs that may affect your treatment. It only comes into effect if you lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself such as when you are unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate your wishes.
You can change or revoke an Advance Health Directive at any time whilst you have capacity. It is recommended that you consider reviewing your Advance Health Directive every two (2) years or if there is any major change in your health status. For example, if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
You can also use the Advance Health Directive to appoint an Enduring Power of Attorney in relation to health decisions only. This will ensure that a person trusted by you can make health decisions on your behalf that may not otherwise be covered in the Advance Health Directive.