A Guardian is a person or trustee organisation who can make healthcare, lifestyle, accommodation and medical decisions on behalf of another who lacks decision-making ability. Financial and legal decision making are often considered separately and usually handled by an Attorney appointed under a Power (or Powers) of Attorney or an Administrator appointed by a court or tribunal, if no prior arrangement of Enduring Power of Attorney exists.

All of us at some stage in our lives will suffer at least one disability of lacking decision-making capacity – usually temporary, such as a severe illness, or medical procedure. Sometimes, such a disability becomes permanent, as is frequently the case with terminal illness, complications from major chronic illness and the end of life. However, few of us ever really prepare ahead of time for the real world eventuality of needing a Guardian at some stage.

When done properly with our best interests in mind, the appointment of a Guardian in the future eventuality that we lack decision-making ability can resolve and help with a significant number of otherwise traumatic family-related decisions. Yet this requires choosing persons or trustee organisations with the right foundations, philosophy and competencies.