An Advance Personal Plan (‘APP’) is a legal document that sets out your wishes for the future and ensures they are respected should you lose your ability to make decisions for yourself, such as due to age, illness, an accident, or other life-altering event. The Advance Personal Planning Act 2013 (NT) (‘the Act’) is the legislation which is applied when making an APP. An Advance Personal Plan does not replace your will and has no affect after death.

Who can make an APP?

An adult (a person aged at least 18 years old) who has “planning capacity” may make an advance personal plan. Planning capacity is demonstrated if:

  • The adult does not have an adult guardian (under the Guardianship of Adults Act); and • has decision-making capacity which includes the ability to:
            • Understand and retain information;
            • Assess that information to make decisions; and
            • Communicate that decision

What can an APP include?

  • Advance personal plans can include:
  •  Advance consent decisions: you can make decisions about the actions medical professional make take in relation to your future health care;
  • Advance care statements: set out your views, wishes and beliefs for others to use when making decisions for you
  • Appointing decision-maker/s, which can be anyone who is at least 18 years old, to make decisions for you if you lose your decision-making capacity. You can appoint more than one decision-maker and allocate them different purposes e.g. health and life style, and finances. A decision-maker is not allowed to make, change or cancel your APP.

Advance care statements and the power of decision-makers can involve decisions relating to your care, welfare, property or financial affairs, both long term and day to day, If you change your mind about your plan, you can amend it or cancel it at any time, as long as you have decision-making capacity.

When does an APP take effect?

  • An APP will not take effect unless and until you lose decision-making capacity. If that happens, and the APP takes affect, it will have effect until:
  • the period ends, if you have specified the APP to be for a limited period of time; or
  • The NTCAT revokes it; or
  • an appointed decision-maker resigns as the decision-maker; or
  • you die.

Impact on a Power of Attorney

An APP does not impact a Power of Attorney (‘POA’) as a POA only applies while you still have decision-making capacity. However, an APP in the NT has been used to replace an Enduring Power of Attorney so any Enduring POAs made after 17 March 2014 will be considered invalid.

How can I make an APP?

  1. Obtain an APP Form and fill it in. In deciding what choices you want to include in your plan, it is a good idea to speak to your family and/or friends about your choices and seek advice from a medical professional about treatments or possible decisions to be made in relation to your health care;
  2. Finalise the APP by signing it in the presence of an authorised witness (such as a lawyer, social worker, doctor, school principal, accountant or police officer). Decide whether you want to register your APP with the Public Trustee of the Northern Territory. This is not necessary but might make it easier to find your APP if your decision makers or medical professionals want to check if you have one.
  3. It is recommended that you update your eHealth record, if your APP includes health care. This will make it easier for doctors to know about it.
  4. If you have appointed a decision-maker who can make decisions relating to real estate or land, that section of your APP must be registered with the Northern Territory Land Titles Office, otherwise the Land Titles Office will not recognise that authority.
  5. Store your APP somewhere safe (such as with your will) and give a certified copy to your decision-maker.


Consider obtaining legal assistance when completing the form to ensure your wishes are conveyed and the forms are properly completed.

Useful contacts

Darwin Community Legal Service Inc Phone: (08) 8982 1111 Freecall: 1800 812 953 Email:

NT Office of the Public Trustee Phone: (08) 8999 7271 Commonwealth

My Health Record Phone: 1800 723 471

Download printable factsheet

Advanced Personal Plan

© Darwin Community Legal Service 2022: Non-profit community groups have permission to reproduce parts of this publication as long as the original meaning is retained, and proper credit is given to DCLS as the publisher.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is a guide to the law in the Northern Territory. It is not a substitute for legal advice. You should talk to a lawyer about your particular legal issue. The information contained in this factsheet is current as of January 2022.


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