Voluntary Assisted Dying Laws and Your Appointment of Enduring Guardian

young adult holding elderly adult hand

10th July 2024

In recent years, Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) legislation has become an increasingly debated topic in Australia. The ACT has just become the latest Australian jurisdictions to pass Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation. This is set to come into effect on November 3, 2025. Understanding how these laws can impact estate planning, particularly concerning your Appointment of Enduring Guardian, is crucial.    

Voluntary assisted dying legislation differs from state to state, in New South Wales (NSW), the criteria is outlined in the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022 

This Act states that to be eligible for VAD, a person must be an adult Australian citizen, permanent resident, or have resided in Australia for at least three continuous years. Additionally, they must have been ordinarily resident in New South Wales for at least 12 months.  

They must be diagnosed with a terminal illness expected to cause death within 12 months (for neurodegenerative conditions) or 6 months (for other conditions), causing unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a way they find tolerable. The individual must have decision-making capacity, act voluntarily without pressure, and ensure their request is enduring.  

As the individual must have decision-making capacity, it is important to note that enduring guardians do not have the authority to choose voluntary assisted dying on the behalf of someone else.  

As Voluntary Assisted Dying becomes increasingly accepted, the introduction of this legislation prompts individuals to review and potentially revise their Appointments of Enduring Guardians. This includes considering changes in those who you appoint as your guardians and who support VAD decisions, incorporating directives on end-of-life choices, ensuring legal clarity amidst evolving laws, and updating powers granted for medical and financial decisions.  

Keeping your Appointment of Enduring Guardian current ensures it accurately reflects personal wishes and reduces potential conflicts or misunderstandings in the future.  

Navigating changes in legislation can be complex. Whether you would like to update your current Appointment of Enduring Guardian to reflect new decisions or are seeking clarity on concepts, our team at Castrikum Adams Legal is here to help. Contact us today on (02) 6687 1167 to ensure your wishes are properly documented.