What happens if I lose the ability to make decisions for myself?


Life can be uncertain, and there may come a time whether through illness or injury that you are unable to make decisions yourself. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead.

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) enables you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf, particularly if you are unable to do so yourself. These legal documents can protect your best interests and ensure you and your loved ones are being looked after.

There are two types of EPAs:

1.       Enduring Power of Attorney for Personal Care and Welfare – this EPA only comes into effect if you become ‘mentally incapable’ and enables your attorney to make medical or other related decisions about your care and welfare.

2.       Enduring Power of Attorney for Property – can come into effect before you become ‘mentally incapable’, and can cover a select number of things you own or everything you own.

Should you become mentally incapable before having an EPA in place, your loved ones may need to apply for a Family Court order. This can be a time consuming and costly process. Worse yet, the judge is reliant on the information provided to them and will not necessarily know who you trust or rely on to appoint as a decision maker.

Whether you would like your affairs looked after for a short or long while, the team at Dawsons can help you arrange your EPAs and give you peace of mind over decisions made about your property and personal care and welfare.

Do yours online now for only $240 (normally $400 including certification by a lawyer)

Disclaimer: The information on this page is general information only and must not be relied on as legal advice.

What Happens if I Die Without a Will?

Two important things to know, to avoid any future issues:

About 1,500 people die in New Zealand every year without a will - this is called dying “intestate”. What happens to your property if you haven’t left directions for how to distribute your assets?

1. The Court will appoint an Administrator of your Estate. Your loved ones would have to apply to the Court for administration, and this can take around six weeks for the High Court to process the application, or longer if the court is busy. This process is complicated, and more expensive than if you leave a Will.

Part of the process of getting the Court to appoint an Administrator includes:

  • Your loved ones proving to the Court that they have made a genuine effort to try to find a valid Will; and

  • That a search has been undertaken for any illegitimate children who may have a claim.

2.  The Court appointed Administrator will be required to distribute your assets to your next of kin in accordance with the Administration Act 1982 which might not be exactly what you wanted. It could mean that family members will benefit from your assets even if you do not want them to receive anything.

The good news is, it is easy to avoid these problems - by simply making a Will.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot, or take much time - but it’s worth doing to know your loved ones will be looked after in the way you intended, after you’re gone.

The team at Dawsons are happy to assist in creating a new or updated Will, either by making an appointment or through our online legal services.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is general information only and must not be relied on as legal advice.