Changes to Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) forms come into effect today, making them easier to understand and use.

Together with changes to the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 that also take effect today, the changes will:

  • provide options to change or cancel previous EPAs;
  • allow you to cancel your existing attorney and appoint a new one without affecting the EPA;
  • Change the requirements for medical certificates of incapacity so that health practitioners can use their own versions if they contain the required information;
  • Make it easier for people, a husband and wife for example, to appoint each other as their Enduring Power of Attorney by allowing them to use the same lawyer;
  • Require an authorised witness to certify that you understand what the documents are about and are not acting under duress.

The EPAs are written in plain English and come with an explanation of what setting one up means. The changes won’t affect existing documents but any medical certificates about someone’s mental capacity must meet new requirements.

The Minister for Seniors Maggie Barry urges everyone to set up an Enduring Power of Attorney while they are mentally and physically fit so that their wishes can be carried out if they are not well enough to express them.

Barry says the changes will make it much easier to take that first step towards protecting your future life wishes on your personal health and well-being issues and property matters.

“Knowing you can choose people you trust and who understand what you want, who will make important personal and financial decisions for you if you can’t, gives you peace of mind,” Barry says.

Seniors can use their Gold Card to receive discounts at 300 legal firms around New Zealand so EPAs and wills cost less to draw up.

More information on EPAs is on the SuperSeniors website www.superseniors.msd.govt.nz.

 

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