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Enduring Powers of Attorney

While it is a new year, it is still important to take time to speak to our loved ones about important matters. Especially why it is important to have enduring powers of attorney in place.

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document appointing a trusted friend or family member to manage your affairs should you become unable to manage your own affairs.  This is either for property matters and for personal care and welfare.

It is, by far, less expensive and saves a lot of heartache to ensure that you have enduring powers of attorney in place for personal care & welfare and property before you need them to avoid the stress and anguish of having left it too late for your elderly friends and family.  

It is important to understand that once there is any indication of impaired legal capacity to sign your enduring powers of attorney your solicitor is legally unable to witness your signature and provide the independent legal advice required.

The alternative, when a person is too unwell to make decisions on their own behalf and there are no enduring powers of attorney in place, is a formal application required by the Family Court for Orders appointing either a Property Manager or Welfare Guardian or both the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988.   

There can be delays up to 8 weeks or more – as the family court will prioritise urgent matters involving at-risk children and other urgent family matters.  There is, of course, the related legal fees and court costs associated with any legal application. These orders, once obtained, will need to be reviewed by the family court every 12–18 months, incurring more legal fees.

As always, I recommend talking to a lawyer for advice and guidance to avoid future complications. Myself and my team can assist with Enduring Powers of Attorney should you or a loved one, need help. Please email: claire@foundationlegal.co.nz