An enduring power of guardianship (EPG) is a legal tool which enables a competent adult to appoint another person to make personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions on his or her behalf. The person giving the power is called the appointer. An EPG comes into operation only if the appointer loses capacity to make reasoned decisions for themselves. The types of decisions usually relate to medical treatment and medical care.
You can appoint anyone as a guardian, provided they are 18 years of age or older and have full legal capacity.
You should ensure that they are trustworthy and likely to always act in your best interests.
In Western Australia, an EPG must be signed by the person giving the power, in the presence of two independent witnesses.
One of the witnesses must be a person authorised to witness documents under the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act 2005. This includes a Justice of the Peace, medical practitioners and lawyers.
The second witness must be 18 years of age is not a person being appointed as an enduring guardian or substitute enduring guardian.
There is no need to register an EPG as it is a private document. However, to ensure that your wishes are followed, the Public Advocate recommends that you give certified copies of your EPG to your enduring guardian, your general practitioner, any other relevant health professionals and your family members.
Should you wish to register your EPG in this way we can provide you with certified copies of your EPG once it has been fully executed.
You should keep good records of who have copies of your EPG’s.
To revoke an EPG the appointer must have full legal capacity.
It is recommended that the appointer give written notification to all enduring guardians that they have revoked the EPG. The appointer should request the enduring guardians (and anyone else who may have a copy) to return all copies of the EPG, which can then be destroyed.
All relevant persons and organisations, including the appointer’s general practitioner, other health professionals and family members, should also be advised in writing of the revocation.
However, an appointer who has lost capacity cannot revoke an EPG. The Act provides this precaution to ensure the appointer is not persuaded by others to change their enduring guardian once they have lost capacity.
An appointer who has lost capacity may however apply to the Tribunal for an intervention order.