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Enduring Powers of Attorney

Dec 14, 2016

 

Where there’s a Will there’s a (easier) way

 

Are you one of the 40% of New Zealanders who do not have a Will?
Interestingly 65% of these are Kiwi’s are under the age of 40 and believe they don’t have anything to leave to someone so they don’t need to have a Will.  Although a lot of people own their own home they still don’t feel that they have anything to leave their family, with the exception perhaps of a large mortgage.  However, that is very often not the case.

With a Will, your estate is relatively straight forward to administer. Probate (the lawful recognition of the will as a public document) is applied for by the person you nominate as your executor, and your estate is distributed to those people who you want to provide for. –Easy right?

Without a Will, an estate is considerably more difficult to administer and can be very expensive.  Not so easy and why leave your loved ones with heartache and a headache?

Without a Will, Letters of Administration are required which involves determining who should apply to the Court. Generally that would be your spouse or de facto partner, children, parents or siblings.  A grant of Letters of Administration also means that your estate may not necessarily end up with the person you want to have it!

Currently a spouse receives the first $155,000.00 of an estate plus one third of the residue.  We have had a couple of situations this year alone where clients have declined to make wills.  Most unfortunately, these clients have then passed away unexpectedly.  It has made life very difficult for the family members, and especially when they are dealing with unexpected death.  
Our advice? – Get a will, they are an inexpensive way to ensure that your wishes are carried out.

Having someone act on your behalf while you are alive is called Enduring Power of Attorney. There are two types of Enduring Power of Attorney.  One is in respect of Personal Care and Welfare, and the other is in respect of Property. Often preparation and signing of Enduring Powers of Attorney go hand in hand with Wills.

For Property matters you can specify whether your enduring power of attorney comes into effect while you are able to make decisions and to continue when you are not able to make those decisions; or just for it to come into effect when you are no longer able to make decisions.  For Personal Care and Welfare matters, these can only come into effect when you are not able to make decisions for yourself.

For an Enduring Power of Attorney to be invoked when you become mentally incapable of making decisions, you have to be assessed by a medical practitioner who has the relevant experience in assessing people.

A common misconception is that Enduring Powers of Attorney continue after you have died and that your attorney can carry on with attending to your affairs.  When you die, your Enduring Power of Attorney dies with you, and the Executors appointed in your Will take over.
 
We never really know what’s around the corner, when its time to go wouldn’t it be better to make it easier on your family? You bet it Will.

From only $150.00 plus GST for a Will or $450.00 plus GST for Enduring Powers of Attorney for Property, and Personal Care and Welfare per person, it’s a small price to pay for future piece of mind.

Give Amanda Bound at Legal Solutions, a call to discuss Estate Planning, Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney that benefit your loved ones and help ease their pain of your passing.