Planning for the Future

With National Advance Care Planning Week upon us, it is a reminder for us to plan for the future. It is a good time for each of us to reflect on what arrangements we should put in place. Arrangements for our health and personal care as we age and to encourage our loved ones to do the same.

Thinking about one’s health and personal care for the future is not only a consideration for the elderly or frail. It is also for each of us who want to have a say about what care we receive when we are unable to make those decisions for ourselves.

Importantly, we need to identify the values we hold, the beliefs we have and the preferences we would like our loved ones to consider when making decisions on our behalf. Planning for the future includes:

 1. Considering and completing an Advance Care Directive

An Advance Care Directive is a document which sets out your values, beliefs, and preferences. If your Guardian is required to make a health decision on your behalf, they are able to confidently refer to the Advance Care Directive. Your guardian can then make a decision based on the information previously provided by you.  In my view, this also removes some of the burdens of making these decisions from your loved one.

An Advance Care Directive is not a legal document and there is no specific form that it must take. Your doctor or health care professional can assist and guide you in this process.

Once you have thought about what health care choices you wish your loved ones to make on your behalf, you will then need to give your loved ones the legal power to make these decisions on your behalf.  This is done through a document called “Appointment of Enduring Guardian.”

 2. Appointing a Guardian (a substitute decision-maker).

You are only able to appoint an Enduring Guardian whilst you are able to understand the effect of bestowing decision making powers on your loved ones.  Unfortunately, if you are not capable of understanding the power you are giving to your loved ones, then there is another formal legal process they have to go through to be appointed as your Guardian. It is a more complicated process, but we are able to guide you through the process.

Taking the time to think about what is important to you, talking to your loved ones about your wishes for the future and putting in place a legal guardian is an important topic for all of us.  Sadly, and oftentimes this area is only addressed in times of urgent need.  If we have these conversations early, we have the opportunity to work out what is really important and convey that to our loved ones.

If you would like to appoint an Enduring Guardian, we would love to assist you. CopperTree Family Law finds what matters to you.