This range of US power of attorney documents allow you to delegate authority to someone else to act on your behalf in various situations.
A power of attorney is an authority that you give someone to handle your affairs.
The attorney has a duty to act in your best interests and take prudent care in managing your business affairs.
There are two types of power of attorney:
An ordinary power of attorney is valid only if you, the person giving the authority, have the capacity to deal with the matters yourself. The power therefore ceases if you become mentally incapable.
This kind of power will commonly be given if, for example, you are planning a trip overseas.
By contrast, an enduring power of attorney continues to be valid even if you become mentally incapable. Therefore if you lose capacity, the attorney can still manage your affairs.
An enduring power will usually be given when people are concerned about who will look after their affairs if they become unable to do so.
The ability to grant an enduring power of attorney arises under the PROTECTION OF PERSONAL AND PROPERTY RIGHTS ACT 1988.
There are two different types of enduring power of attorney:
There are some formal requirements for creating an enduring power of attorney that you will need to comply with in order for the authority to be valid.
Standard forms are set out in the Third Schedule of the PROTECTION OF PERSONAL AND PROPERTY RIGHTS ACT 1988 (there is one form for an enduring power of attorney for property, and another for personal care and welfare). You can obtain copies of the forms from the Public Trust Office or another trustee company. The Family Court also provides copies of the forms; you can download them from their website at www.courts.govt.nz/family (under Forms).
The form must be signed by both you and the attorney (or attorneys) and then witnessed.
Most people appoint a close friend, family member or lawyer as their attorney. It is generally preferable to appoint two or more people.
The person to whom an enduring power of attorney is given must be at least 20 years old, must not be a bankrupt, and must not be suffering from any legal incapacity.
You may appoint more than one property attorney, acting together or separately, at any one time. But you may have only one attorney to be responsible for your personal care and welfare if you become mentally incapable.
In relation to property, you are "mentally incapable" if you are not wholly competent to manage your property affairs.
In relation to your personal care and welfare, you are "mentally incapable" if you:
You may cancel an enduring power of attorney at any time, as long as you are mentally capable of doing so. This should be done in writing, in a document that has been signed and witnessed in the same way that the original power of attorney was witnessed.
You can cancel an ordinary power of attorney at any time. If you become mentally incapable, the power necessarily ceases to have effect.
If you have not given an enduring power of attorney and you become incapable of managing your affairs, the Act sets out a procedure for applying to the court for it to appoint a welfare guardian to deal with your personal care and welfare, or a property manager to deal with your property. (See How to obtain a personal or property order for somebody who lacks capacity.)
If you are concerned that someone you know is no longer able to make decisions about his or her personal care or property interests, you may apply to the Family Court for a personal or property order under the PROTECTION OF PERSONAL AND PROPERTY RIGHTS ACT 1988. The people who commonly apply for an order are the person himself or herself, a relative, a social worker or a medical practitioner.
The court treats personal care and welfare issues separate from property matters. Accordingly, it may make two kinds of orders: personal orders and property orders.
The Act encourages the idea of self-reliance and the court has adopted a policy in which it imposes the less restrictive or interfering order.
In making a decision the court may request medical, psychiatric or psychological reports on the person concerned to be presented.
People who are able to have orders made for them include people suffering from senility or dementia, the comatose, the mentally ill, the intellectually handicapped, and people affected by drug or alcohol dependency.
The Act's scheme does not apply to people who have already provided, through an enduring power of attorney, for someone to handle their affairs should they become mentally incapable (see How to give a power of attorney).
The application must be filed at the Family Court. Copies of the application form are available from the Family Court.
There is no filing fee.
A personal order may be made if the person either:
The court may grant a variety of personal orders, including:
The court may make a property order appointing a manager for the person's property if the court believes that the person either:
The powers and duties of the manager are conferred by the court and are not limited by the value of the property.
If the property involved is not large (that is, no single item is worth more than $2,000 or the income or benefit is less than $20,000 a year) the court can make a personal order appointing someone to administer the person's property, instead of making a full "property order".
The Act contains a number of legal and procedural safeguards to ensure that the court intervenes only after proper processes have been followed:
Yes. If the court makes or refuses to make the order, or otherwise makes a final decision about the application, any party to the proceedings or the person about whom the application was made may appeal the court's decision to the High Court.
You have 20 working days after the decision is made to bring your appeal.
If you believe that a friend or relative may need some form of professional assistance for a mental disorder or illness, you may apply for them to be assessed for compulsory mental treatment. The right to do this is set out in the MENTAL HEALTH (COMPULSORY ASSESSMENT AND TREATMENT) ACT 1992.
The first stage in the process is to apply to the Director of Area Mental Health Services for an assessment of the person in question.
Your application must be in writing, and must include:
No, all of the proceedings and hearings are confidential.
The Act provides for two types of compulsory treatment order:
The Act sets out various rights for the patient, including:
There is a formal complaint procedure that will enforce any breaches of the patient's rights under the Act.
A patient also has various review and appeal rights under the Act, including
Allows a single parent or one custodial parent to grant a Power of Attorney for the Care of Children.
Durable Power of Attorney Form that takes effect immediately.
A General Power of Attorney document authorizes an individual to act on his or her behalf in legal, financial, and business matters.
Allows you to appoint another person to make health care decisions on your behalf. This form sets out the name of the person who is so empowered and the specific powers granted to that individual in regard to your health.
This form includes guidelines to ensure you properly provide written notice that all powers granted under a Power of Attorney are revoked.
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