882 days ago

Do You Need an Enduring Power of Attorney and What Are They All About?

Henderson Reeves Auckland

The brand new Enduring Power of Attorney Forms have just come out from the Ministry of Social Development. Now’s a good time to think about who you would like making decisions for you if you can’t.
Enduring powers of attorney (EPAs) ensure you have the right person looking after your affairs … View more
The brand new Enduring Power of Attorney Forms have just come out from the Ministry of Social Development. Now’s a good time to think about who you would like making decisions for you if you can’t.
Enduring powers of attorney (EPAs) ensure you have the right person looking after your affairs while you are in the land of the living, but not able to make decisions for yourself. EPAs are something that will make it easier for your loved ones to help you if you are incapacitated by illness, an accident and are no longer ‘mentally capable’ of making important decisions for yourself.
Without an EPA put in place while everything is ok, your family would have to go to Court to get the power to make sure your bills get paid, and to make important care decisions for you.
EPAs are a simple document to put in place. Some of the benefits include:
• getting to choose someone you trust and having the chance to talk to them about it now;
• you can provide for them to consult with others before making decisions, or provide someone else with information about the things they do;
• you can have one person who makes decisions for your personal care and welfare, and one or more others who deal with your property.
New, easy to follow EPA forms have just come out, and the Ministry of Social Development’s snazzy looking website Super Seniors has lots more information about EPAs, advice, and the forms themselves. The link is superseniors.msd.govt.nz...
EPAs can be revoked at any time by giving your attorney (the person you appoint) notice, and if you have a temporary period where you are incapacitated, you can take back the reins. Your property EPA can come into force before you are mentally incapable if you want it to e.g. if you would rather not have to worry about paying bills and you have a son or daughter who would happily take care of that for you.
There are other safeguards too in that your attorney’s overriding concern must be the promotion and protection of your welfare and best interests. They must try and encourage you to make your own decisions to the extent you are able and seek your advice where possible.
There are limits to what your attorney can do under an EPA – such as refuse consent to standard medical treatment or a procedure intended to save your life, adopt out your children (whew), or make a decision about your marrying or getting a divorce. If you would like to make decisions now about future medical treatment, say if you are in a serious accident, you can look at doing an Advance Directive, which is a non-binding expression of your wishes that may help your family and doctors making difficult decisions about your care. You can find an example of Advance Directives on the New Zealand Medical Council website.
EPAs have to be signed in front of a lawyer, a suitably qualified legal executive, or an authorised officer of a trustee corporation and that witness needs to give you advice on the effect and implications of the document you are signing.
It’s all pretty straightforward though, and you can even download the forms and advice first so you know exactly what you would like to do before you go and see your lawyer.
Henderson Reeves offers a special package for EPAs (one property and one personal care and welfare for one person $450, or $700 for two people, both plus GST and any disbursements). We also offer great discounts if you are doing EPAs and wills together, and a 10% discount for Super Gold Card members.
Taina Henderson and Shelley Funnell are your local, friendly and entirely mobile lawyers with the backing of a full service law firm of over 30 years standing. We’d love to hear from you.
You can contact us on 09 281 3723, or Taina on 027 537 9222 and Shelley on 027 537 9221.

899 days ago

Thinking about buying an apartment?

Henderson Reeves Auckland

Check out this article in the herald about unit titles and weathertightness issues. It is never straightforward and always get your lawyer to check out the title first. We have competitive rates for unit titles so call us for advice. A small amount of money spent up front saves a lot of dollars… View moreCheck out this article in the herald about unit titles and weathertightness issues. It is never straightforward and always get your lawyer to check out the title first. We have competitive rates for unit titles so call us for advice. A small amount of money spent up front saves a lot of dollars later!

www.nzherald.co.nz...

910 days ago

Is it too late for New Years resolutions?

Henderson Reeves Auckland

Legal New Year’s Resolutions
The best kind of New Year’s resolution is one that is easy enough to keep and makes you feel a whole lot better. We may have made muttered promises to ourselves about more walks, and less wine, but here are five legal resolutions that will leave you feeling right … View more
Legal New Year’s Resolutions
The best kind of New Year’s resolution is one that is easy enough to keep and makes you feel a whole lot better. We may have made muttered promises to ourselves about more walks, and less wine, but here are five legal resolutions that will leave you feeling right on top of things and ready for your year:
1. Make a will (or take a look at your old one to see if it needs refreshing).
Everybody whether married, single, a parent or a grandparent needs a will. It saves your family having to go to Court to get Letters of Administration. A well thought out will allows you to plan what happens to your assets when you die, and to nominate someone to have a say in important decisions for your children. In addition to your will, do you need an enduring power of attorney so that a trusted person can step in and make important care or property decisions if you cannot do so yourself?
2. Get on top of debt
This year I am abolishing a budget in favour of a “Spending Plan” because it sounds much more fun. If things have gotten more serious than that, a lawyer can help you renegotiate debt, and your bank or mortgage broker could help you consolidate your debts to reduce the overall interest you are paying. A “disruptive accountant” or a budgeting advisor might be just the thing for taking control of your financial affairs.
3. Get some advice on that niggly legal issue
This may seem self-serving, but that combative neighbour on your right of way, that ongoing trust issue, or upcoming property purchase with your partner are underlying causes of stress. Sometimes all you need is 20 minutes legal advice to put you on the path to resolving them.
4. Make sure your insurance is doing what you think it is
For lots of reasons, insurance policies may not be protecting you properly – whether because you have more assets than you used to, other circumstances have changed, or you are just paying too much. So that you are protected when you need it, read your policy and get in touch with your insurer if anything is unclear. Ask them if they have a plain English description of cover and exclusions. Work out whether your house insurance will cover a rebuild if you needed one. Consider an insurance broker.
5. Book in a time for those walks and revel in all that peace of mind (I’m not saying anything about the wine).

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