Enduring powers of attorney: Planning ahead by choosing someone to make decisions for you
Supervision over decisions made by attorneys
What if my attorney isn’t acting in my best interests?
If your attorney is not acting according to your instructions or in your best interests, there are a number of ways you and others can supervise and/or challenge these decisions:
- You can name specific people in your EPA that the attorney has to consult with before making decisions, or who your attorney have to give relevant information to (see: “What should I consider before making an EPA?”).
- Anyone with an interest in your welfare can go to the Family Court and ask a judge to review any decision made by your attorney. This includes:
- you, the donor
- a family or whānau member, including relatives such as grandchildren and nieces/nephews
- a doctor, a social worker from Oranga Tamariki, 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: “Types of decisions the Family Court might make: Personal Orders and Property Orders”)
- anyone else who gets the Family Court’s permission to apply.
What decisions can the Family Court make?
The Family Court has the power to monitor your attorney’s performance, and, if necessary, change the terms of your EPA.
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 (see: “When will the Family Court cancel the appointment of an attorney”).