Home | Browse Topics | Individual rights & freedoms | Decision making and powers of attorney | Ending an enduring power of attorney

Individual rights & freedoms

Enduring powers of attorney: Planning ahead by choosing someone to make decisions for you

Ending an enduring power of attorney

Can I change my mind about giving someone an EPA?

Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, ss 100A, 106

Yes. So long as you’re still mentally capable, you can change or cancel (“revoke”) an enduring power of attorney at any time.

Changes to an EPA should be done in writing, in a document that’s signed and witnessed in the same way that the original EPA was witnessed (see: “How to create an enduring power of attorney”). However, it doesn’t have to be witnessed by the same person who witnessed the original EPA.

You can cancel the EPA simply by giving your attorney a written notice saying this. You can also suspend the EPA temporarily if you were mentally incapable for a time but have now regained mental capacity (see: “What happens if I get back my ability to make decisions?”).

The processes are different depending on whether you change, cancel, or replace your EPA, so get advice from a lawyer about which option best suits your situation and how to follow the correct process for it.

If you cancel your EPA, make sure you notify any bank or other institution that’s likely to be affected.

When does an enduring power of attorney come to an end?

Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, ss 95A, 104–106

An enduring power of attorney stops having any effect if:

  • you revoke the EPA or the attorney’s appointment under the EPA while you have mental capacity, by giving a written notice to the attorney (if you’ve made a new EPA that revokes the earlier one, you can simply give a copy of the new EPA to the old attorney)
  • you die (your attorney has no ongoing power to deal with your estate (your property) after you die)
  • the attorney states in writing that they no longer want to act as your attorney (a “notice of disclaimer”)
  • your attorney dies, loses mental capacity, or goes bankrupt
  • you had appointed two or more joint attorneys, and one of them dies, goes bankrupt or loses their own mental capacity (see: “Can I appoint multiple attorneys?”)
  • the Family Court cancels the EPA (see below).

When will the Family Court cancel the appointment of an attorney?

Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, s 105

The Family Court must cancel your attorney’s appointment if the judge agrees that:

  • you were pressured or tricked into appointing the attorney, by unfair influence or fraud, or
  • the attorney isn’t suitable for the role, taking into account, in particular, their relationship with you.

The Family Court can – but doesn’t have to – cancel your attorney’s appointment if the judge agrees that:

  • what your attorney is doing or planning to do isn’t in your best interests, or
  • they haven’t consulted with or given information to the people you had named for this purpose in your EPA.

Did this answer your question?

Decision making and powers of attorney

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice has information about the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988.

Website: www.justice.govt.nz/family/powers-to-make-decisions

Office for Senior Citizens

The Office for Senior Citizens website has useful information and templates for preparing an enduring power of attorney.

Website: www.superseniors.msd.govt.nz/finance-planning/enduring-power-of-attorney

New Zealand Law Society

The Law Society has helpful information on Powers of Attorney.

Website: www.lawsociety.org.nz/for-the-public/common-legal-issues/powers-of-attorney

Public Trust

The Public Trust is a provider of wills and estate administration services. The Public Trust’s website has helpful information about enduring powers of attorney.

Website:  www.publictrust.co.nz/products-and-services/enduring-power-of-attorney
Phone:  0800 371 471

Welfare Guardian Trusts

The Welfare Guardians Trusts’ website provides information about welfare guardians and links to some local Welfare Guardian Trusts.

Website: www.welfareguardians.nz

People First

People First New Zealand is a self-advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning disabilities. They create Easy Read resources which are available free to download on their website.

Website: www.peoplefirst.org.nz/news-and-resources/easy-read-resources
Email: ask@peoplefirst.org.nz
Phone: 0800 20 60 70

Organ donation

Organ Donation New Zealand has information about organ and tissue donation.

Website: www.donor.co.nz

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life.

Buy The Community Law Manual

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top