Enduring Power Of Attorney & Advanced Health Directive

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney and do I need one?

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) appoints someone you trust (known as your Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you are die or become incapacitated in a way that you are unable to make decisions for yourself. These decisions can be financial, medical or both. You can also appoint more than one attorney and they can be appointed jointly and/or severally.

Your EPOA can begin immediately for financial matters, or at a nominated date or when you become incapable to handling your own personal matters as described in a medical certificate by your doctor. Your health matters only begin when you are incapable of making those decisions for yourself.

What is an Advanced Health Directive?

An Advance Health Directive is a document that states your wishes or directions regarding your future health care for various medical conditions. It comes into effect only if you are unable to make your own decisions. You may wish your directive to apply at any time when you are unable to decide for yourself, or you may want it to apply only if you are terminally ill.

Can anyone make an Advance Health Directive?

Yes, anyone who is over eighteen years of age and is capable of understanding the nature of their directions and foreseeing the effects of those directions can generally make an Advance Health Directive.

What do I need to consider before making an Advance Health Directive?

You should think clearly about what you would want your medical treatment to achieve if you become ill. For example:

  • If treatment could prolong your life, what level of quality of life would be acceptable to you?
  • How important is it to you to be able to communicate with family and friends?
  • How will you know what technology is available for use in certain conditions? It is strongly recommended that you discuss this form with your doctor before completing it. In addition, a doctor must complete Section 5 of the form.

    The purpose of an Advance Health Directive is to give you confidence that your wishes regarding health care will be carried out if you cannot speak for yourself. However, a request for euthanasia would not be followed, as this would be in breach of the law.