Elder Law

Being old is not a disability. However, as you advance in years you do have different legal needs and you may wish to interact with us differently. Your needs will be paramount with us. If you need us to visit you at home we will do so. Our aim is to ensure that your legal affairs are in order for you to enjoy your golden years. We can assist you with the following:

  • Wills
  • Enduring powers of attorney
  • Welfare guardians and property managers under Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act
  • Retirement villages
  • Rest homes
  • Residential care subsidies
  • Granny flats
  • Reverse mortgages
  • Other funding options

If these options appear to be suitable for you, we can discuss them with you and put them into a format that will help you and your family move forward.

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Your will may require updating following downsizing of your home or a change in other assets. We can help you write a will to ensure that your estate is dealt with as you wish, and if necessary provide a professional executor to help your family to administer your estate in the way that you wanted it to be. More

Enduring Powers of Attorney

As you get older you may find that you need assistance in dealing with the day to day details of your life. Under an Enduring Power of Attorney you can appoint someone to work with you now and to continue to help you if you should lose the capacity to deal with your own affairs.

An Enduring Power of Attorney for Property can be designed specifically to meet your needs. You can limit the power that such attorney can have. You can appoint more than one person and also require that the attorneys must act together. This is an important decision as sometimes a power of attorney can be abused. We can assist you in drafting the power of attorney to specifically meet your needs and if required we can also provide a professional to act as your attorney.

A Personal Care & Welfare Attorney can only act if you have become mentally incapable. You can only appoint one person to act in this role. This attorney will make decisions about medical treatment that you may receive and/or where you should be living.

If you go into a retirement village or a rest home they will require that you have the Enduring Powers of Attorney in place.

The holders of both powers of attorney must consult with you and each other in relation to any decisions they make.


Welfare Guardian/Property Managers

If someone has lost their capacity to act and have not signed Enduring Powers of Attorney, an application may be made to Court to appoint someone to act as:

A Welfare Guardian

This must be a person and the Court will normally appoint only one person to hold this role. Like the Enduring Power of Attorney, Personal Care & Welfare they make decisions about the medical treatment and where the person subject to the order lives. The Court order will include any specific matters such as any particular treatment that must be had and is normally reviewed every three years.

Property Manager

The Court can appoint more than one person, allowing the possibility of a mixture of family and professional involvement. The Court order must be reviewed every three years.

The order will specify the areas in which the Property Manager may act. The Property Manager each year must file an annual statement of management with the Family Court. This statement is audited by the Public Trust.

Both the Property Manager and Welfare Guardian must consult with the person who is subject to the order and with each other in relation to matters.


Retirement Village Purchases

You may decide that your current home is no longer suitable for you and that the facilities provided in a retirement village would better suit your needs.

The Retirement Villages Act 2003 requires you to get advice from a solicitor before you sign the documentation. The paperwork involved can be daunting and expert advice is critical. With most retirement villages you are not purchasing the villa/apartment/unit but acquiring an occupation right. The villa/apartment/unit will not increase in value as does your normal home. On your death, or the sale of the facility, your family will get back less than what you paid for the unit.

Once you have selected where you want to live, we can help you through the process. More


Rest Homes

Selecting a rest home is not easy. Often you are making the decision not by choice but because of health issues. The key criteria is to find somewhere where the person needing care will feel comfortable and at home. Once the home has been chosen, a copy of the Rest Home Residential Care Agreement (frequently called an Admission Agreement or Deed of Tenancy) should be reviewed to ensure that it does cover such things as the fees to be paid (including any additional services) that will be provided, the terms and frequency of payments, whether there is a requirement for a guarantee from family members to make payment of the fees and costs, the terms on which the room is allocated to them, the grounds for termination and what are the rest home complaints and disputes processes and the support agencies available.


Residential Care Subsidies

If you need to go into care provision is made for your care to be paid for by the government in certain circumstances. We can assist you in making the application for the residential care subsidy or if your application has been unsuccessful appealing against the decision of the Ministry of Social Development.

Even if your initial application is unsuccessful in that you have too many assets, with time you may find that you may be eligible for the payment of the residential care subsidies.


Granny Flats

Rather than deciding to move into a facility separate from your family, you may decide to join with your family in the purchase of a home or maybe build a granny flat on an existing family member's property. You will contribute money to pay for the home or to build the flat.

The key issue with these arrangements is how will your interest in the property be secured. We can work with you to provide a solution to ensure the money you have invested is properly recognised.


Reverse Mortgages

You may own your own home but you may not have sufficient cash to carry out repairs or perhaps pay for an essential operation. A common way of achieving additional funding is through what is called a reverse mortgage. This is the way to access the equity that you may have in your home without having to make regular payments on the loan. Instead, the interest payments are capitalised and added to the balance of the loan so over time the equity in your home will decrease.

The loan is repaid when the house is sold or on your death.

You must be independently advised by a solicitor before you can sign such a loan agreement. There are of course considerable disadvantages to such loans. For example, the value of the loan may mean that if you have to sell the house there is little left to purchase a new property or your family to receive on your death.


Other Funding Options

There are a number of other options that you may wish to consider that may provide you with money that you need without entering into a reverse mortgage. Your particular circumstances may make one or more of these options available to you.

Your existing home may be too large and by selling and buying something smaller you may release capital for an operation or to have a holiday away.

Subdivide the Section
If your section is large enough, it may be possible to subdivide the section and for cash to be released for you to continue living in your existing home and having money to spend.

Sell the House to Family Members
Your children may be able to purchase the property which was their family home and continue to let you live in the property without payment of rent.

Renting Out a Portion of the Home
It may be possible if your house is large to take in a boarder. This may increase your cash flow.

A Loan from a Family Member
This loan may be set up as either being interest free or interest payable upon your death.


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