Finance: Appoint someone to act on your behalf

By Alan Clarke

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Put someone else in charge of your affairs. Photo / Thinkstock
Put someone else in charge of your affairs. Photo / Thinkstock

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) gives a person the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to cope because of illness, failing health, or a bad accident.

Along with a will, an EPA is a crucial legal document that everyone should have in place.

There are two types of EPA:

One specific to your personal care and welfare.

The other specific to your "property", a legal term meaning all of your assets.

You would usually appoint your spouse, but also another person in case your spouse has already died.

You can appoint two different people, or the person you appoint can do both.

Always appoint someone who is much younger than you.

There have been too many cases of elder abuse so recent governments tightened up on the rules and EPAs can now cost over $1000. However, in some cities the less well-off can make EPAs at community law centres for much lower costs.

Whenever you go to make a new will, make an EPA at the same time. Cost may be contained by doing them together, but to avoid cost shocks, always ask for a cost estimate first.

Your EPA appointees

Usually you would appoint your spouse but in case they predecease you, appoint another person as well.

A lot of people like to appoint their children, but if you have any doubt whatsoever, consider appointing a solicitor instead. Or at least appoint your solicitor to manage your money, property and your assets.

For more information on EPAs go to www.ageconcern.org.nz/epa

Elder abuse

70 per cent of the victims are elderly woman.

80 per cent of the abuses are committed by family members.

Before you say that won't happen in our family, remember we don't know what will happen to our children or their finances or their jobs.

We don't always know about our children's spouses and their ethics or values.

Any caregiver may be under financial pressure and act inappropriately.

Put someone you can absolutely trust in charge of your affairs, and no one else.

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