The Star: June 22, 2017


what is important to you?

It is interesting what people perceive as important beauty/appearance items when asked

to name the three items they couldn’t do without if told they were going to a desert island


A cross section of males and females ranging from 52 to 95 years old were asked the


Oddly only one person asked if they would be there on their own. Their replies follow:

Elizabeth - 68

Coconut oil - It can be used internally and externally, hair brush, nail scissors.


Francis - 73

Sunglasses, hairbrush, nail file.

Susie - 63

Moisturiser with sunscreen, mouthwash and lip gloss (Chanel Exotique no 12)

Jo - 75

Magnifying mirror, tweezers and sunscreen.

Go ask your friends.

It can lead to an



JoAN - 95

Dior foundation, Oil of Olay moisturiser and a ‘good’ lipstick.

ANNA - 59 & SARA - 62

Oddly two sisters Anna and Sara both chose identical items: moisturiser with sunscreen -

particularly for the lips, smudgy charcoal eye pencil and mouth wash.

Philip - 69

A huge cake of soap, piksters for cleaning my teeth and an endless supply of mouth wash.

Pene - 52

Scissors, mirror, scrubbing brush.

Mike - 66

A toothbrush so my teeth aren’t caked in raw fish, moisturiser to keep sun and salted skin

from going wrinkly and a comfy pillow so I get my beauty sleep.

JOHN - 82

The biggest, thickest supply of loo paper, Laphroaig mouth wash, (for those in the dark,

this is actually single malt whiskey and a hairbrush.)



As lawyers, we are required to meet with

our clients and take their instructions in

order to help them complete the particular

legal task(s) they are planning. Sometimes

when we do this, we need to take a little

extra time to consider our clients legal or

mental capacity to make decisions.

Mental or legal capacity is a client’s capacity

to make a decision. Decision making requires

that a client:

• understands the decision they are

having to make

• can discuss with us the possible

options available to them in a way that

shows they appreciate the risk and or

benefit of those options

• understands the impact that a decision,

or the lack of a decision, may have on

them or their loved ones

• is able to articulate and discuss all of

the above with us.

It is important to note that the level of

capacity required isn’t the same in every

situation. For example, to make a Will the

test is whether the client knows they are

making a Will and the effect of doing so,

whether they understand the extent of

the assets they are dealing with and finally,

whether they comprehend the moral claims

which they ought to give effect to.

However, when giving instructions to

complete Enduring Powers of Attorney the

test is whether the client understands the

consequences of granting a power of attorney

and the nature and effect of the power they

are giving. This is the test even in a situation

where the client is no longer capable of

managing their own affairs.

Having these discussions with our clients

is difficult. It can be very confronting, both

for our clients and for us. In a worst case

scenario, our clients can be very offended by

us questioning their capacity. This is not our

intention. Our intention is to ensure that

the legal outcome our clients have set out to

achieve, has the best possible opportunity to


We are aware however that if there is a

likelihood that our client’s decision might be

challenged, one of the first questions that

may be raised is whether our client had the

capacity required to make the decision in the

first place.

The best way of mitigating this risk may be

for our clients to undertake a capacity

assessment prior to completing their

legal work. It is best that the assessment be

scheduled as close as possible to the

appointment to complete the legal work

they are contemplated. It is important for

us to write to our client’s doctor to explain

to them the background of the situation, the

legal test that is at issue and to request a

detailed report regarding our client’s capacity

to make the decision in question.

For the reasons discussed above, if you have

concerns about your capacity or the

capacity of a loved one, it is critical that you

obtain advice from a team well versed in

dealing with these matters. At Harmans we

have a specialist seniors team to help you

with any queries you may have. Contact Fleur

McDonald on 352-2293 to arrange an

appointment to discuss your situation.

1. Banks v Goodfellow (1870) LR 5 QB 549

2. Re Tony (1990) 5 NZFLR 609

3. Re K [1988] 2 WLR 781

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