Home | Browse Topics | Individual rights & freedoms | Decision making and powers of attorney | Supervision and control of EPA decision-makers

Individual rights & freedoms

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

Supervision and control of EPA decision-makers

The law allows for different ways in which others can supervise your EPA decision-maker (“attorney”) and intervene if they think something is wrong.

Supervision by people you’ve chosen

Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, ss 99A, 99B

When you make your enduring power of attorney, you can specify one or more people to play a kind of watchdog role over your attorney:

  • you can name one or more people who your attorney has to consult with when your attorney makes decisions
  • you can name one or more people who the attorney has to give relevant information to when they ask for it.

Supervision and intervention by the Family Court

Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, ss 102, 103

The Family Court has the power to monitor an EPA attorney’s performance, and, if necessary, to change the terms of the enduring power of attorney.

The Family Court can be asked to decide any disputed issues about an EPA or about the effect of the EPA, or about how an attorney has been carrying out their role.

Among other things, the Family Court can be asked to:

  • decide whether you’ve become mentally incapable
  • decide whether an EPA is legally valid and what its specific effect is
  • review any decision that your attorney has made
  • direct your attorney to do certain things
  • cancel your attorney’s appointment – this could involve deciding whether you unfairly induced or pressured to sign the EPA, or whether your attorney is a suitable person to be your attorney.

Who can ask the Family Court to intervene in your attorney’s role?

Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, s 103

People who have an interest in your welfare can go to the Family Court and ask a judge to review any decision made by your EPA decision-maker. This includes:

  • you, the donor
  • a family or whānau member, including relatives such as grandchildren and nieces/nephews
  • a doctor, a social worker from Child, Youth and Family, or the manager of any hospital, rest home or other place where you’re being cared for
  • a representative from Age Concern or any other elder abuse and neglect prevention service
  • another of your EPA attorneys, if you have more than one (for example, if your care and welfare attorney is concerned about a decision made by your property attorney)
  • a trustee company
  • your welfare guardian, if the Family Court has appointed one for you (see “Family Court orders for your welfare or property / Personal orders and welfare guardians” in this chapter)
  • anyone else who gets the Family Court’s permission to apply.

EPA decision-maker can ask for directions from the Family Court

Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, ss 101, 102

Your EPA attorney can apply to the Family Court for directions about how to exercise their powers. They might want to do this if for example they’re having some difficulty carrying out some of your instructions.

Did this answer your question?

Decision making and powers of attorney

Where to go for more support

Community Law

www.communitylaw.org.nz

Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Ministry of Justice

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

This has information about the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988.

Office for Senior Citizens

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

This website has useful information and videos, and also templates for preparing an enduring power of attorney.

Public Trust

www.publictrust.co.nz/personal/enduring-power-of-attorney

The Public Trust website has information on enduring powers of attorney.

Phone: 0800 371 471

Welfare Guardians Trusts

www.welfareguardians.nz

This site has information about welfare guardians and links to sites of some local Welfare Guardians Trusts.

People First

www.peoplefirst.org.nz/news-and-resources/easy-read-resources

People First New Zealand is a self advocacy organisation that is led and directed by people with learning (intellectual) disability. They create Easy Read resources which are available free to download on their website. Their resources include:

  • Information on Supported Decision-Making
  • Supported Decision-making tool
  • Enduring power of attorney information.

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. It’s for people living in Aotearoa New Zealand (and their advocates) to help themselves.

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