Our Services - Elder Law and Wills

Enduring Powers of Attorney

Do you feel confident that others will know how to look after you and your property if you become unable to do so? There may come a time when you become unable to make or communicate decisions yourself and it is crucial that someone you trust knows how you would want your life and property handled.

One way to ensure this happens is to appoint someone to act on your behalf by giving them an `enduring power of attorney' (“EPA"). This is an authority given by you (the donor) to someone else (the attorney) to look after your affairs and it remains in place should you lose your capacity to make or communicate decisions. There are two types of EPA's. One is in relation to your property and the other is in relation to your personal care and welfare.

An EPA should only be contemplated after full consideration of the consequences and detailed discussion with your advisors and family. The choice of the attorney should also be carefully thought out.

Buying a unit in a retirement village

For many people this is a decision which is delayed and difficult. It is a very important lifestyle change, and financially has significant implications for the person moving into the village as well as the immediate family. Most retirement villages in Christchurch rely on an occupation right agreement (“ORA") which protects one's right to occupy a unit, on closely detailed terms. There is a lot of detail to check, understand and be sure about – and this is where a lawyer experienced in dealing with ORAs is essential.

Due to the repayment provisions (at the end of the ORA), generally there is a significant reduction in the money which is received – and hence the decision to purchase a unit must be seen as a lifestyle decision rather than an investment. This requires careful handling with family and to achieve a proper understanding.

There are many other aspects to be aware of including:

a. Inability to borrow against the unit

b. The possibility of considerable extra cost

c. Budgeting concerns, if the weekly costs rise significantly

For an ORA to be binding on someone, there is a legal requirement for independent advice with a certificate to be signed as well. We can help with this.

There are many useful links to websites with information including the following:

Your Will

Death is one of those certainties in life – we just don't know when it is going to happen. The implications of not having a will are endless. It is important to get a `snapshot' of your own circumstances, assets, relationships and come to us to discuss the best strategy for you. To assist with this process complete the Will questionnaire attached.

Estate Administration

We have the expertise to attend to your final wishes and to work with families to tidy up your affairs as well as assisting with distributing your property on your death.

Our Elder Law specialists:

Philip Sewell

Charles Mullins

Useful links: