Legal Documents Explained

Advance Care Document, Advance Care Plan, Advance Care Directive, Living Will. Are they all the same?

An Advance Care Plan is a general overall term that includes any form of planning in Advance.

Advance Care Directive is  a document that outlines a person’s choices for medical care they do or do not want, in the event they can no longer speak for themselves. It is used to direct a person when giving you medical care.

What are the Legal Requirements for an Advance Care Document in Australia?

  1. It must be dated
  2. The person must be mentally competent
  3. They must complete it voluntarily (ie not under any coercion)
  4. They should consider their state of health now as well as in the future.
  5. The person must set out the medical treatment they want administered or refused, in different circumstances.

It is recommended that you also

  • Name one or more Responsible Person(s) or Substitute Decision maker(s)
  • Include a witnessed signature.

What is A Power of Attorney? 

  • This is a legal document that appoints someone else to act on your behalf for financial and  administrative affairs if you are sick, overseas or unable to look after your own affairs.
  • It stops having effect if you, the person who appointed someone else to manage your affairs, lose your mental capacity.
  • A Power of Attorney is invalid after death.

What Is An Enduring Power of Attorney?

  • Similar to a Power of Attorney, this is a document that appoints someone else to act on your behalf, but unlike a Power of Attorney it continues beyond loss of capacity, ie if the person who signed loses their mental capacity, the enduring Power of Attorney continues.
  • It is used for financial and  administrative affairs if you are sick, overseas or unable to look after your own affairs.

Enduring Guardianship

  • An Enduring Guardian is a person appointed to act on your behalf in matters of medical treatment and quality of life decisions. There is no directive from you to this person, or others, about your wishes.
  • Where there is both an Advance Care Directive and an Enduring Guardianship, the wishes expressed in the Advance Care Directive over ride the Enduring Guardianship.