Frequently, lawyers find themselves addressing questions surrounding the differences between an Enduring Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Guardianship. This common question is unsurprising, given the similarities between these two legal documents. Both documents appoint a designated person – a Guardian or an Attorney – who can act on your behalf when you’re incapable or otherwise unable.
While both documents involve entrusting someone to make decisions for you when you cannot, the main difference is in the scope of the appointment.
An Enduring Power of Attorney authorizes your attorney to manage your financial and property matters, including bank accounts, shares, insurance, and real estate. On the other hand, an Enduring Power of Guardianship authorizes your guardian to manage almost all other aspects of your life, including where you live, what activities you might be involved in, and what medical treatment you might undergo.
The other primary difference between the two documents is that an Enduring Power of Guardianship will only operate if you no longer have legal capacity to manage your affairs. In contrast, an Enduring Power of Attorney can operate before and after you lose capacity.
Like an Enduring Power of Attorney, an Enduring Power of Guardianship can contain limitations or directions to your Guardians on how they should exercise their authority.
The Office of the Public Advocate offers comprehensive information kits for both Enduring Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Guardianship and are accessible through these links: