Understanding Enduring Powers of Attorney

There are two different kinds of Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPOA) that people need: Property and Personal Care and Welfare.
Understanding Enduring Powers of Attorney

David and Kathy recently came in to ask about Enduring Powers of Attorney. Kathy handles most of the finances for the farm and David is worried that if something happens to Kathy, he won’t be able to look after that side of the business. Kathy is worried that if David is seriously injured on the farm, someone needs to be able to make the decisions for his welfare. David and Kathy’s son is about to turn 18 and they wondered what would happen if he was injured and someone needed to make  decisions on his behalf.

Kathy and David need Enduring Powers of Attorney. This will provide them with peace of mind around who to trust to make decisions on their behalf if they are unable to make these decisions for themselves.

There are two different kinds of Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPOA) that people need: Property and Personal Care and Welfare.

An EPOA for Personal Care and Welfare enables your Attorney to make decisions about medical and personal care matters. This can include things like whether you should have residential care, the type of medical treatment to be administered and, ultimately, if medical treatment should be withheld. If David is seriously injured on the farm and needs any serious medical decisions made, Kathy will be able to make these decisions if she is appointed as his EPOA for Personal Care and Welfare. If these are not in place, Kathy will not have the authority to make such decisions and her views may not be taken into account by the medical practitioners making these decisions for David.

EPOA for Property authorise your Attorney to make decisions about financial matters, including paying accounts, selling property and administering bank accounts. Unlike Personal Care and Welfare EPOA, a Property EPOA can come into effect either before or after a person loses capacity. This can ensure that, even if something happens to Kathy and she is temporarily unable to authorise accounts or payments, David can do this on her behalf.

Once David and Kathy’s son turns 18, he is legally an adult, and his parents no longer have legal authority to make decisions for him if he is injured or incapacitated. It’s important therefore that David and Kathy are appointed as EPOA for their son, until he can make the decision for himself on who he would like to have in this role.

Not having an EPOA in place can mean that an application to the Court needs to be made to appoint someone to make these decisions. This can be a time consuming and costly process, at a time of emotional stress.

IF you want to discuss more about EPOA, of have these put in place for you or your adult children, get in touch with Renee at renee@gallie.co.nz.

By
Renee Dunn
Solicitor

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