Senior couple organising their Power of Attorney and Medical Decision Maker documents.
ESTATE PLANNING

Enduring Power of Attorney vs Medical Decision Maker

Bare estate planning lawyer Yajaira Appeldorff
  • Yajaira Appeldorff
  • Writer, Bare
  • February 11, 2021
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Bare Cremation’s estate planning expert, Yajaira (Yaya) Appeldorff answers your questions about Wills and estate planning. Click below to find out more.

Q: What’s the difference between an Enduring Power of Attorney and an Appointment of Medical Decision Maker?

A: An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) is a legally binding authorisation that allows someone to sign legal documents or make legal and financial decisions on another person’s behalf. 

All states will deal with legal and financial matters or decision-making under an Enduring Power of Attorney. However, personal and medical matters will be dealt with differently, depending on which state or territory you reside in.

In some states and territories, the Enduring Power of Attorney also has the authority to make decisions on another person’s personal and/or medical matters. In other states, additional types of authorisation are needed to allow someone to make medical and/or personal treatment decisions on another person’s behalf.

For example, in Victoria, legal, financial and personal decisions are made under an Enduring Power of Attorney. However, medical decisions are made under an Appointment of Medical Decision Maker (AMDM). In other states however, the personal and/or medical decision-making can require separate authorisations, including an Advance Care Directive, Advance Health Directive, Health Direction Form or Enduring Guardianship.

In Queensland and the ACT, an EPOA also provides authority to make decisions on another person’s personal and medical matters, in addition to legal/financial matters. But in some other states, a different document is needed to make decisions on personal and medical matters. For example, South Australia, an EPOA covers legal/financial matters, but an Advance Care Directive is needed for personal or medical matters.  

This chart explains which document is needed for what type of matter, depending on the state or territory:

Here's which estate planning document is required for each state.

Here’s a summary:

  • In Victoria, legal, financial and personal decisions are made under an Enduring Power of Attorney. However, medical decisions come under Appointment of Medical Decision Maker (AMDM). Read our Melbourne estate planning guide for more information on other estate planning matters. 
  • In NSW, personal and medical decisions are made under the appointment of an Enduring Guardian. Read our Sydney estate planning guide for more information on other estate planning matters. 
  • In Queensland, all decisions (legal, financial, personal and medical) are made under an EPOA. Read our Brisbane estate planning guide for more information on other estate planning matters. 
  • In South Australia, legal and financial decisions are made under an EPOA. However, personal and medical decisions are made under an Advance Care Directive.
  • In Tasmania, legal and financial decisions are made under an EPOA. However, personal and medical decisions are made under an Enduring Guardianship.
  • In the ACT, all decisions (legal, financial, personal and medical) are made under an EPOA.
  • In Western Australia, legal and financial decisions are made under an EPOA. However, personal and medical decisions are made under an Enduring Power of Guardianship.

 

It can be useful to have the appropriate authorisation in place if you become unwell later on, or lose the ability to make decisions or manage your financial affairs yourself. 

Ask our estate planning experts

Do you have a question about estate planning but weren’t sure who to ask? Our estate lawyer Yajaira (Yaya) Appeldorff can help. 

Email your estate planning questions to estates@barelaw.com.au with the word Mailbag in the subject and yours could be next! 

Whether you just need a free Will or an entire estate planning kit, we have a package that suits your needs. Chat with our estate lawyers on (03) 9917 3388 or click the button below to make an appointment. You can learn more by visiting our Bare Wills and Estates webpage here

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