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Law for Elders

On this page

Power of Attorney

Most people sign what is known as an Enduring Power of Attorney.

With this document you empower one or more people to sign your name to and conduct all your legal and business affairs. Unless you impose any limits on this, that authority starts immediately and continues until you die. It continues even when you may be incapacitated physically or mentally, such as by a stroke or by senility. A General Power of Attorney does not work in those circumstances.

It is a very serious matter to appoint a Power of Attorney. You should consider the many options available to you before choosing who you appoint and on what terms. You should not proceed with a Power of Attorney if you have any doubts at all and should seek legal advice. Unfortunately lawyers deal with many situations where a Power of Attorney has been abused or has led to family disputes. Proper advice that takes into account your personal situation and careful legal drafting can help to avoid this.

Advanced Care Directives

You can sign an Advanced Care Directive to appoint a "Substitute Decision-Maker". They will be able to make medical and lifestyle decisions for you when you are not well enough to make wise decisions about this for yourself. These decisions may include agreeing to medication, surgery, and other medical procedures and decisions as to where you should live.

You can also use an Advanced Care Directive to give instructions about what you want to the doctors (and substitute decision-maker) to do in those situations. You might say that these are only suggestions - or you might insist that that they are compulsory. (Note: there are some situations where even a strict instruction may not be followed).

For more information and forms visit Advanced Care Directive website.

Acts, Regulations, Rules & Forms

Are you looking for detailed information like this, or contact details for any of the bodies mentioned on this page. If so, then start on our Elder Law for Lawyers page.

If it isn't there, then start on our Finding Detailed Legal Information page.

Please read our warning on that page "Be careful using these resources".

The Law is not always as straightforward as it appears. We have not included any information about when and how to use that information or any traps. We assume that the Lawyers will know this.

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Administration & Guardianship

When a person with a mental incapacity can no longer make decisions in certain areas of life, the SACAT can be requested to make an order appointing somebody else to do this on that person's behalf.

The causes of mental incapacity can include dementia, intellectual disability, brain damage, mental illness, coma or being in a moribund state, and this must affect the person's ability to make his or her own decisions.

The main orders the Board can make concern their guardianship, care, treatment, detention and control of their financial and legal decisions.


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Community Information

The Law Handbook (South Australia) has chapters on:

elder law power of attorney guardian mental health law legal senile dementia alzheimer

Retirement Villages

Seniors Information Service Inc has information on Retirement Villages and the range of other accommodation options available.

Some early termination fees for loans made to enter a Retirement Village may no longer be enforceable. Seek legal advice.