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Do You Need Enduring Powers of Attorney? - Mortlock McCormack Law | Property and Commercial Law | Christchurch, New Zealand
Do You Need Enduring Powers of Attorney? - Mortlock McCormack Law | Property and Commercial Law | Christchurch, New Zealand
Do You Need Enduring Powers of Attorney? - Mortlock McCormack Law | Property and Commercial Law | Christchurch, New Zealand
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Do You Need Enduring Powers of Attorney?

September 2020

Margaret Mary De Goldi

Do you want to be Adrienne or Colin?

Scenario A - Adrienne
Once upon a time, Adrienne visited Mortlock McCormack Law and took advice about Enduring Powers of Attorney. Adrienne knew a bit about them, but at her meeting with us she realised that getting to choose her own attorneys and ensuring that their appointment was on her terms was a very good idea. Adrienne duly completed the attorney appointments.
As it happened, sometime later Adrienne was crossing the road and was hit by a Ford Ranger. She broke both her legs and was temporarily in a coma.
Chrissy, her personal care and welfare attorney stepped in to talk with Adrienne’s carers and doctors. Adrienne was in the middle of selling her home so, Gavin, her property attorney took care of this, and also dealt with her bank and organised her Netflix subscription at the hospital. Both attorneys worked well with each other and with Adrienne’s family.
While Adrienne was in hospital and later in rehabilitation, Adrienne’s family were able to concentrate completely on Adrienne.
Adrienne got great care and in good time was up and about looking after herself again…

Scenario B - Colin
Once upon a time, Adrienne told her friend Colin about visiting Mortlock McCormack Law and the information she had got about Enduring Powers of Attorney.
Colin reckoned that because he had adult children one of them would be his next-of-kin and would be able to deal with his bank and his doctors on his behalf. Adrienne told Colin that a next of kin has no legal powers, rights or responsibilities. In particular, they cannot sign legal documents on your behalf and they cannot give consent for providing or withholding any treatment or care.
Colin pooh-poohed what Adrienne told him and said Enduring Powers of Attorney were a waste of time and money.
As it happened, sometime later Colin was crossing the road and got hit by a Ford Ranger. Colin’s injuries were severe – broken bones and head trauma.
Colin was in the process of selling his home but there was no one with legal authority from Colin who could sign documents on his behalf. It turned out that Adrienne was spot on about the next of kin. It was quite the nightmare. More importantly, Colin’s adult children couldn’t all agree about Colin’s care. They gave conflicting information to specialists and one operation was delayed because of family tension.
Colin’s prognosis wasn’t great and the family had to apply to the Family Court for a guardian for Colin, which is what happens when there is no attorney. This took a lot of time and a whole lot of money. All of Colin’s children were involved and eventually the Family Court appointed Gerald to be the guardian. Gerald was OK, but actually he wouldn’t have been Colin’s first choice…

Contact Margaret Mary De Goldi, Legal Executive (DDI 03 343 8381 / margaretmary@mmlaw.co.nz) if you don’t want to be like Colin.