In New South Wales, the general power of attorney and the enduring power of attorney (both made in accordance with the Powers of Attorney Act) authorise your attorney to make decisions about your legal and financial matters. However, your attorney cannot make health and lifestyle decisions for you.
If you want to appoint someone to make health and lifestyle decisions for you, especially when it comes to deciding on or consenting to medical or dental treatment, you must appoint an enduring guardian under an enduring guardianship instead of an attorney under a power of attorney (even an enduring power of attorney).
In fact, when people refer to a ‘medical power of attorney’ in New South Wales (it may be different in other states or countries), it is likely that they are actually referring to an enduring guardianship rather than any sort of power of attorney.
Your attorney appointed under a general power of attorney or an enduring power of attorney will look after your legal and financial matters while an enduring guardian appointed in an enduring guardianship will look after your health and lifestyle decisions. This means if you are mentally incapacitated or you are unable to make decisions for yourself (for whatever reason), it would have been in your best interest if you had appointed both an attorney and an enduring guardian to look after you. Although a power of attorney and an enduring guardianship are separate documents, you can appoint the same person as both your attorney and as your enduring guardian.