On 1 July 2014 the new Advance Care Directives Act began operation. The intention of the new Act is to simplify what for a lot of people was a cumbersome jumble of documents including Enduring Powers of Guardianship, Anticipatory Directions, and Medical Powers of Attorney.
If you have appointed someone under any of these documents but that person had not, before 1 July 2014 accepted the appointment (which would not be unusual in most cases) then the document may now be invalid. We encourage you to make contact with your lawyers to discuss the validity of any powers you have granted but which may not yet have been accepted.
If you execute a new Advance Care directive now, it will automatically revoke any previously granted Enduring Powers of Guardianship, Anticipatory Directions, and Medical Powers of Attorney. This helps simplify your affairs.
It is important to know that an advance care directive does not relate to legal or financial decisions which continue to be covered by Enduring and general powers of attorney documents.
What an advance care directive covers is your wishes for your future health care, end of life and personal living arrangements.
The best news is that they are free and you don’t need a lawyer to prepare them for you. You can go to http://www.advancecaredirectives.sa.gov.au/ and obtain a DIY kit. As with DIY Will kits though, we recommend you carefully consider the way you complete the document and we encourage you to meet with your lawyer to discuss the process and your wishes for the advance care directive before you complete the form.
Given the new changes, now is as good a time as any to review all of your testamentary documents including your Will. We offer an initial free consultation. It costs nothing to ask.