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Making decisions about future healthcare is also known as advance care planning. Advance care planning can help inform and provide peace of mind to those closest to you on how you would like healthcare decisions to be made on your behalf if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.

Your own personal or religious beliefs, or experiences you have had, may mean that there are certain healthcare decisions you do, or do not, want to happen.

An Advance Care Directive is a legal document that helps others (family, friends, and medical personnel) know what future or end-of-life health care and living arrangements you want if the time comes that you are unable to make the decision yourself due to circumstances. This may include a sudden physical deterioration that leaves you unable to advocate for yourself.

Advance care planning involves:

  • thinking about your values, preferences and preferred outcomes

  • appointing a substitute decision-maker

  • completing an Advance Care Directive

  • sharing your wishes with others

  • reviewing your Advanced Care Directive.

Things that you may want to consider are:

  • what is important to you and gives your life meaning

  • what treatments do/don’t you want

  • if there was a choice, where and how would you like to spend your last few days.

Making a Will

Te tuhi wīra

Making a plan for what happens after you die is the best way to make sure that your loved ones know what you want to happen to you and what you would like to be done with your belongings.

There are a number of ways that you can make a will:

  • Public trustees
    There are a number of public trustees organisations so it is worth shopping around for the best one for you. They are able to write your will with you and act as executors. Their fees are generally less than those of lawyers. Visit cta.org.nz for more information.

  • Lawyers
    Lawyers can write your will with you and can act as executors, however their fees can be expensive.

  • Do it yourself
    It is possible for you to write your own will or use an online service. These can be the cheapest option starting at as little as $20 for simple wills. If your circumstances are more complex, for example if you have children from a previous relationship or you have a business, your will might be more complex and costly and so you may want to consider one of the first two options.

For more information on which is the best option for you, visit Citizens Advice Bureau.

Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA)


Power of attorney is when you give someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are not able to make these yourself.

There are two types of power of attorney. Ordinary/General power of Attorney or Enduring power of Attorney.

Ordinary power of Attorney (OPA)

An OPA is when you nominate someone else to make decisions for you for a specific period of time. For example if you are overseas. You can chose what aspects you want them to make decision on such as finances or property.

It is important to note that an OPA ends if you lose legal mental capacity.*

Enduring power of Attorney (EPA)

There are two types of EPA.

  1. Personal Care and Welfare EPA - When you nominate someone else to make decisions about your health and wellbeing only if you lose the legal mental capacity* to do so yourself

  2. Property EPA – When you nominate someone to make decisions on your behalf about your finances/property. You can give someone the authority to make these decisions whether you still have, or do not have, the mental capacity to make decisions at the time. 

    *i.e., the ability to understand the nature and consequences of decisions and/or the ability to communicate these decisions

An EPA cannot be set up after mental capacity has been lost.

It is a good idea to set up an EPA when you make your will.

When you set up your EPA you might want to think about:

  • who you want to nominate in your EPA

  • when you would like the EPA to start and end

  • what decisions you would like them to make on your behalf (eg Personal Care and Wellbeing or Property).

When you have decided on these things, you should:

  • fill in the relevant forms

  • speak to a lawyer to understand your rights

  • have someone witness your signature on the form.

The forms can be obtained from:

For more information you can also visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Below are links to some useful websites that can help you think about and plan your Advanced Care Directive. Your Nurse Specialist and/or Social Worker can help you develop your own Advanced Care Directive with your whānau.