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Individual rights & freedoms

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?

Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, ss 99A, 99B, 101-103

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?

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

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”).

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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

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