Protecting yourself also helps to protect your family. Appointing an attorney under an EPA may be just as important as your Will. An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is a power of attorney created under a New Zealand Act of Parliament. Unlike a standard power of attorney, an EPA will remain legally effective should you later lose your capacity.
1. An Enduring Power of Attorney specific to your property
Your attorney will be responsible for managing any transaction that involves your property including finances. This may include all household expenses and maintenance, engaging services and tradespeople, perhaps buying or selling property, overseeing relocation, paying bills and so on.
You can also appoint your property attorney to act for you at any time if you wish, which can be useful if you decide to travel overseas for a period of time. Trustees Private Wealth can act as your property attorney either alone or jointly with others. This may be beneficial to you, as professionals we are impartial and not involved in, or subject to, the pressures of family conflicts or personal matters.
2. An Enduring Power of Attorney in relation to your personal care and welfare
Your attorney will be responsible for, making decisions about your personal matters. This can include your medical care or deciding which rest home you are placed in. This EPA only comes into force when you are deemed unable to make these decisions for yourself.
While you cannot appoint Trustees Private Wealth as your attorney for personal care and welfare, we can still help you with advice on choosing an appropriate person.
Did you know that not even a spouse can automatically act on your behalf for assets in your own name if they are not legally appointed? You also cannot act for your children once they are over 18 years of age.
If you lose mental capacity without an EPA, dealing with your matters can become increasingly difficult adding emotional and financial stress to your loved ones. If nobody has the legal authority to act for you or sign documents, your closest loved ones would need to apply to the Family Court to be appointed as your manager – even dealing with the simplest of things may not be as easy as you had envisaged. This can often be time consuming and cause delays in dealing with matters, adding additional costs. Often specialists such as doctors and lawyers are asked to write reports and you may also incur court fees. The court may also appoint someone who you would never have chosen.
An EPA means that you keep control of who manages your affairs.
EPAs are essential tools for people of any age, in order to manage property and personal care and welfare in the event of an accident or serious illness.
In the event of an accident, or an incapacitating illness, a joint bank account can provide a loved one access to some of your funds, but it doesn’t provide solutions to the fundamental issues that EPAs are meant to solve. Specifically, EPAs are designed to allow a person to appoint another – an attorney – to act on their behalf. This is essential to ensure that all of your personal and financial affairs can be managed efficiently, cost effectively, and in accordance with your wishes in the event that you are no longer able to do so yourself.