Enduring Power of Attorney – What is an EPA?

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a simple way of ensuring that if for any reason you become incapacitated, or are unable to manage your affairs, the person you have appointed as your attorney can attend to these matters for you.

They are powerful documents however in that they continue to have effect in the event of you becoming incapacitated mentally, so you should exercise care in your appointment.

There are two types of attorney, Property (in which two people can act as an attorney) and Personal Care and Welfare (in which you can only have one attorney). The Welfare attorney only comes into effect when you become mentally incapacitated, whereas the Property attorney can have effect immediately if you wish.

Can I change my mind about giving someone power of attorney?

Yes. You can change, vary or revoke (cancel) your EPA at any time while you are mentally capable.

Two kinds of Enduring Power of Attorneys

There are two kinds of EPA: One that covers a person’s property and one that covers their personal care and welfare

Appointing someone to act on your behalf

Do you feel confident that others will know how to look after you and your property if you become unable to do so yourself, such as through accident, illness or incapacity? There may come a time when you become unable to make or communicate decisions yourself. It is crucial that someone you trust knows how you would want your life and property handled. One way to ensure this happens is to appoint someone to act on your behalf by giving them “enduring power of attorney”.

Power of Attorney for Personal Care and Welfaire

This EPA will only come into effect if you become incapable of making or communicating your decisions. An EPA for personal care and welfare can only be given to one individual and not to a trustee company. The EPA can authorise the attorney to act in relation to your personal care and welfare generally, or only in relation to stated specific areas.

Power of Attorney for Property

You can choose when you want a power of attorney for property to take effect – now, or when you can no longer manage your affairs. You can give the attorney full power over all your property, or limit power to, for example, looking after specific investments or property. An EPA for property can apply to as many or as few assets as you, the donor, wish. If it is to be limited, that must be specified.

Who to choose as your adviser?

You may choose to appoint your spouse or one or more of your children, or any other family member. You may also choose a friend or a professional adviser.

How do I go about setting up an enduring power of attorney?

To set up an EPA you will need legal advice. Your legal adviser will explain what information should be included and the decisions you must make.  To contact a legal adviser at Auckland law firm Quay Law .

Auckland law firm Quay Law provides services in Wills and Estate administration, Estate Planning, Trusts and Asset Protection, Relationship Property, as well as Conveyancing, Commercial,  Immigration and other areas of law.