Choosing the attorney

You can choose practically anyone as your attorney, though to get enduring powers they must be 20 or over when taking on the role, a New Zealand resident, not bankrupt and not be suffering from any legal incapacity. 

People often choose their partner as attorney, especially for personal care and welfare. If you are single, choose a trusted relative, friend, solicitor or accountant who is healthy and likely to outlive you, or (for property) a trustee corporation. Professionals will charge for their services, typically on an hourly basis for work done.

Consider whether the attorney has the skills, judgment and time to handle your affairs. Be aware that family members may find it difficult to act impartially, or may be influenced by other relatives.

Once you've appointed an attorney, avoid later misunderstandings by making sure that close friends and family members know.

Documentation

Standard forms must be used for granting enduring powers of attorney. You can get these forms from the Office for Senior Citizens website and from lawyers and trustee companies.

Witnessing the document

The witnessing requirement for enduring powers of attorney was strengthened by the amendment of the Act in 2008. Your signature must now be witnessed by one of:

  • a lawyer
  • an authorised officer of a trustee corporation
  • a Registered Legal Executive with at least 12 months experience and employed by a lawyer

A ‘certificate of witness’ to your signature must be attached to the form. The certificate confirms that certain matters have been explained to you before you signed, that the witness is independent of the attorney, and that the witness has no reason to suspect you are mentally incapable.

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