Legally appointing someone to make health and lifestyle decisions

This page provides a plain-English overview of the legal processes involved in planning ahead, as well as links to local information. To get advice about your individual circumstances it is recommended that you consult with one of the agencies referred to below or a legal practitioner.

How do I legally appoint someone of my choice to make health and lifestyle decisions for me if I lose capacity to make my own decisions in the future?

  • While you might verbally nominate someone you want to make decisions for you or else have their name put in your medical records, this informal approach does not have a strong legal basis.
  • The way to ensure your decisions have a clear and strong legal basis in New South Wales is to appoint someone as your enduring guardian to make health and lifestyle decisions on your behalf when you are not capable of doing this for yourself.
  • You can appoint several people and specify if they need to act separately or together.
  • You can also nominate an alternative enduring guardian in case the original enduring guardian can no longer fulfil this role.
  • You choose which decisions you want your enduring guardian to make. These are called functions. You can direct your enduring guardian on how to carry out the functions.
  • Your Enduring Guardianship appointment must be signed by the person being appointed and witnessed by a lawyer, Registrar of the NSW Local Court, overseas-registered foreign lawyer or approved employee of the NSW Trustee and Guardian or Office of the Public Guardian.
  • Your enduring guardian has no authority to make financial decisions on your behalf – unless they have also been appointed as your Enduring Power of Attorney.
  • There is no central register of people appointed as enduring guardians in NSW.
  • The Public Guardian has a Private Guardian Support Unit that provides a free and confidential service to assist legally appointed guardians in their role.

Links to local resources

To view information about Enduring Guardianship on the NSW Planning Ahead Tools website, click here.

To view information about the Private Guardian Support Unit, click here.

To download the PDF document Now You’re the Guardian, click here.

Step 5: How else can I document my wishes?