At different times in our lives, we all need to make decisions. We make important decisions about our finances, property, employment, accommodation, healthcare and social supports.
There are five different decision support arrangements for people who have challenges with their capacity and who may need support to make certain decisions. These arrangements are based on the different levels of support that a person requires to make a specific decision at a specific time.
There are three types of support arrangements for people who currently, or may shortly, face challenges when making certain decisions:
• Decision-making assistance agreement
• Co-decision-making agreement
• Decision-making representation order
There are two types of arrangements for people who wish to plan ahead for a time in the future when they might lose capacity:
• Advance healthcare directive
• Enduring power of attorney
You can find out more about all of these arrangements below.
Decision-making assistance agreement
If you require support to make certain decisions on your own, you can make a decision-making assistance agreement. This agreement lets you appoint someone you know and trust as a decision making assistant. Your decision-making assistant will help you to get information and explain it to you. They can help you to understand and weigh up your options. They can also help to let other people know what your decision is.
If you are unable to make certain decisions on your own, you can appoint a person you trust as your co-decision-maker. under a co-decision-making agreement. This agreement lets you write down decisions you need help with and give someone the legal authority to make those decisions jointly with you. These decisions can be about your personal welfare or your property and money matters.
Decision-making representation order
If you are unable to make certain decisions even with someone else’s support, the court may appoint a decision-making representative to you. The decision-making representative is appointed by the court to make certain decisions on your behalf, taking into account your wishes.
If possible, the court will appoint someone you know and trust as your decision-making representative. However, if there is no-one willing or able to act on your behalf, the court may appoint someone from our panel of trained experts.
Advance healthcare directives
If you are planning ahead, you can make an advance healthcare directive. This arrangement lets you to write down your wishes about healthcare and medical treatment decisions in case you are unable to make these decisions at some time in the future. You can appoint someone you know and trust as your designated healthcare representative to ensure your advance healthcare directive is followed.
Enduring power of attorney
If you do not currently need support, but would like to plan ahead, you can make an enduring power of attorney. This arrangement lets you appoint someone you trust as your attorney. The attorney’s role is to act on your behalf to make certain decisions if you are unable to in the future. An attorney does not need to be a lawyer.