As a Kāpiti lawyer with a special interest in assisting older clients I recently attended an Elder Law Conference in Wellington.
The Conference provided an opportunity to hear different viewpoints on some of the issues older people can face, although these matters can also impact on clients of all ages.
Some of the more interesting topics included second relationships and blended families, mental capacity and enduring powers of attorney, and banking.
The Deputy Commissioner of the Banking Ombudsman’s Office (“the Ombudsman”) raised the question of what will happen when the banks no longer allow customers to use cheque books. We hear news articles and sometimes don’t consider what the outcomes will be from these types of decisions. In this situation the key concern is more people will disclose their PIN numbers and provide their EFTPOS cards to friends, family or support staff. In many cases these people are long standing trusted people who are relied on, but in some circumstances, as we sadly hear in the news this can be an opportunity for older people to be exploited causing them to lose their hard-earned savings. This is something the Ombudsman will continue to work through with the banks.
The other topic quite a lot of time was spent on was mental capacity. This is very relevant when we are taking instructions to put in place Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPOAs) for clients. Once again these are a mechanism entrusting somebody to deal with your property and personal wellbeing which is quite a responsibility. It is important the person giving the authority (the Donor) to another (the Attorney) understands what this involves and has the capacity to make the decisions without any pressure or duress from anybody else.
I am happy to listen and give you the time to ensure you have the right mechanisms in place to protect your assets and wellbeing, particularly if you’re unable to.
Please call Sue Scutter at Kāpiti Law (04) 9026700, with offices in Waikanae and Paraparaumu, to discuss your needs we will make the process as simple as possible and can help you.