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Have you thought about what care you want to receive when you reach the end of your life? During the course of our lives we expend an enormous amount of energy planning where we want to live, and what we want to achieve during our lifetimes, but we don’t give much time or thought to what we would like to happen at the end of our lives. If you have a major health event that robs you of the ability to make your wishes known to your family, or to the health professionals responsible for your care, taking some time now to discuss what you want at the end of your life will provide vital guidance if your loved ones have to make those decisions for you. An Advance Care Plan or Advance Directive (“Advance Care Plan”) is a way to help you communicate to your loved ones your wishes about your future health care. It will help your loved ones and your health care providers to understand what is important to you and what treatment you do or do not want in the event that you are unable to communicate with those around you. Under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights you have the right to use an Advance Care Plan to make your health care wishes known. Examples might be the desire not to receive blood transfusions, be resuscitated or kept alive with the use of life support systems. The Code gives a person, who has capacity to make decisions for themselves, the right to make an Advance Care Plan. However, you should be aware that at present an Advance Care Plan has no specific statutory status in New Zealand, and is

EXERCISE the mind

therefore not enforceable at law and may not be followed. When deciding on whether to follow your Advance Care Plan, your health care professional will try to ensure that: • you had capacity at the time the Advance Care Plan was made; • you made your Advance Care Plan of your own free will; • you were informed and understood the decisions you were making; and your Advance Care Plan applies to the current circumstances, whatever they may be. The trickiest part of an Advance Care Plan may be discussing your wishes with your loved ones. Many of us don’t like to give much thought to the decisions we may be called on to make should our loved ones be ill and unable to communicate their wishes. Talking about your Advance Care Plan with your loved ones is an important conversation and should be an integral part of your estate planning. Sharing your wishes will give you all peace of mind in knowing that should the worst come to pass you will have equipped your loved ones with the information they need to make the right decisions for you. At Harmans we have experience dealing with estate planning and can help you to formalise your wishes. Give our Senior’s team a call on 03 352 2293 to arrange an appointment to discuss your situation.

AdvAnCE CARE plans


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