Enduring Powers of Attorney and Advanced Directives

October 24, 2023

in Estates and Wills

At some stage in life, it is important to consider who will ensure that your wishes are carried out should you be in an unfortunate situation where you cannot enforce those wishes yourself.

There are two common ways in which you can do this, an Enduring Power of Attorney over Personal Care and Welfare, and an Advance Directive also known as a living will.

These two documents both ensure that your wishes are clear before situations where you are not capable of doing so yourself, but this does not mean that you only need one or the other.

An Enduring Power of Attorney over Personal Care and Welfare is a document where you appoint an individual to be your attorney, and perhaps a successor attorney should your original nomination be able to act. That attorney will be charged with having the power to make decisions regarding your personal care and welfare should you become mentally incapable (such as decisions regarding your treatment).

An Advanced Directive is a statement of your wishes regarding medical treatments you do and do not wish to have should you be unable to communicate those wishes or be incapable of making the decision. A defining point of the Advanced Directive is that it is not a binding document. They are wishes that can be provided to doctors and loved ones for setting out the extent of treatment that you wish to undertake but it does not bind them to follow those wishes.

The reason that having both of these documents is so important is that when you are in a state where you are unable to communicate your wishes, your medical professional will look to your Power of Attorney to express your wishes and make decisions on your behalf. However, your Power of Attorney is expressly prohibited from making a decision to refuse standard treatment that will save your life.

So, in order to express your wish to refuse any medical treatment, you must make your wishes known in an advance directive. This will mean that when your Attorney is approached by medical professionals, they can make them aware of your wishes expressed in the advanced directive. Without an advanced directive, your Attorney will be forbidden from making certain end of life decisions that you may have asked them to make.

Without a Power of Attorney, there will be nobody charged with making the majority of decisions that need to be made regarding your care, and even if there is an advanced directive, there may be no one who can alert medical professionals to its existence.

If you require any further advice or further information on the matters dealt with in this publication, please contact the lawyer at Farry Law who normally advises you; or alternatively contact.

Benjamin McKee


09 353 6677

The information contained in this publication is intended as a guide only.  It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.  Professional advice should be sought before applying any of the information to particular circumstances.  While every reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, Farry Law does not accept liability for any errors it may contain. 

Previous post:

Next post: