An Enduring Power of Guardianship (or 'EPG' for short) is a legal document that allows you (the donor) to choose someone else (the guardian) to make personal, lifestyle, and medical decisions on your behalf. It only comes into effect when you no longer have mental capacity to make those decisions yourself. It's different to an Enduring Power of Attorney, which allows you to choose someone else to manage your property and financial affairs on your behalf. You can make an Enduring Power of Guardianship by completing a kit (available from the WA Government's website) or by making an appointment to see a Citizens Advice Bureau lawyer who will prepare the document on your behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does an enduring guardian do?
An enduring guardian makes medical and lifestyle decisions.
What types of lifestyle decisions can my guardian make?
Your guardian can make day-to-day decisions such as where you live, who can visit you, what type of medical treatment you can receive, and for how long.
When can I make an Enduring Power of Guardianship?
You can make an EPG at any time, as long as you have mental capacity.
Can I restrict the power of my guardian?
Yes, you can place restrictions on your guardian. You can also specify which kinds of lifestyle decisions your guardian can make for you when you no longer have mental capacity.
Who can I appoint as my guardian?
You can appoint anyone over 18 who has mental capacity, is trustworthy, and will always act in your best interests. They could be someone like your spouse/partner, child, or another family member. You should get their permission to act as your guardian beforehand.
How many guardians can I appoint?
There is no limit to how many guardians you can appoint. But think carefully of the practicality of appointing too many guardians as all your guardians must act jointly.
Must my guardians act together?
Yes, they must act together if they are appointed as joint guardians. You can specify that if one joint guardian dies, the other can act.
Can I appoint a substitute guardian?
Yes, you can appoint a substitute.
Do I have to register my Enduring Power of Guardianship?
No, you don’t have to register it, but it’s a good idea to give copies to your family members and your doctor.
Can I revoke my Enduring Power of Guardianship?
You or your guardian can revoke your EPG at any time, as long as you have mental capacity. All you need to do is inform your guardian and any relevant authorities that you’ve revoked your EPG. It’s the same process if your guardian wants to revoke their appointment, but you must have mental capacity when they do.
How long does an Enduring Power of Guardianship last?
An EPG lasts as long as you’re alive. It expires when you die.
What happens once the Enduring Power of Guardianship has been drafted?
To make your Enduring Power of Guardianship legal, it needs to be signed by you and your guardian. Your signature must be witnessed by two independent witnesses. One should be someone who can legally witness a statutory declaration, such as a Justice of the Peace, lawyer, doctor, teacher, police officer, pharmacist, or nurse. The other witness can be anyone who is over 18.
Your guardian must accept their appointment by signing the Enduring Power of Guardianship. Their signature must also be witnessed by two independent witnesses. One should be someone who can legally witness a statutory declaration, such as a Justice of the Peace, lawyer, doctor, teacher, police officer, pharmacist, or nurse. The other witness can be anyone who is over 18.
Make an appointment for a Citizens Advice Bureau lawyer to prepare an EPG on your behalf. Alternatively, you can download and print the kit from the WA Government's website.
Read more about EPG at the Office of the Public Advocate website.
An EPG is not the same thing as an Advance Health Directive. Advance Health Directives are legal documents in which adults with capacity can set out their decisions about future medical treatment that they want or do not want. An Advance Health Directive can come into effect if that person is unable to make reasonable judgments about their treatment later on. Advance Care Planning refers to the process of communicating a person's views, preferences and decisions about their future care when they cannot verbally communicate that. For further information on Advance care planning, please visit the Department of Health's website.