Changes to Enduring Powers of Attorney
Amendments have recently been made to the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 (PPPR Act) and its accompanying regulations.
These amendments will affect both the making and operation of Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) in future, and will be effective from 16 March 2017.
From this date, EPAs must be created using new plain-English PDF forms which are available online. The new forms use tick boxes and have extensive notes sections and a glossary. The old forms will no longer be legally valid; please note that this does not affect the validity of your existing EPA.
Additionally, the amendments will make witnessing EPAs more simple. In the past, it was common for two separate solicitors or legal executives to be involved in the witnessing of signatures. Now, in most situations, one witness will suffice.
Further changes include a requirement for greater consultation between the attorneys appointed under an EPA.
There are also new rules around the cancellation of earlier EPAs, which will make it easier to revoke an earlier EPA when a new one is created. It will also be possible to revoke the appointment of one attorney but allow the remaining attorneys to continue to act.
The intention of these changes is to make EPAs easier to understand and ensure a greater number of people create them. Perpetual Guardian supports any changes which make it easier for all New Zealanders to have current and effective EPAs.
The new Trusts Bill
Many of you will be aware the Ministry of Justice released a draft of a new Trusts Bill to ultimately replace the very outdated Trustee Act 1956. This follows on from work done by the Law Commission between 2012 and 2013.
Everyone agrees that Trust law in New Zealand is in need of significant reform. The existing Trustee Act is difficult for lawyers to understand, let alone laypersons!
The Ministry’s objective in drafting the Trusts Bill is to introduce plain language legislation that simplifies the drafting of trust deeds and acts as an education tool to assist trustees and their advisors.
It is also intended to facilitate the efficient operation and administration of Trusts as well as the resolution of Trust-related disputes.
It is recognised there is a need to reduce the number of Trusts in New Zealand, partly because many are simply not needed, and partly because some are misused.
Many individuals and groups throughout the country, including Perpetual Guardian, have now provided feedback on the draft Trusts Bill to the Ministry of Justice.
It is expected that a final version of the Bill will be introduced to Parliament in 2017. There will be further opportunity for New Zealanders to comment on the legislation as the Bill progresses.
Perpetual Guardian is watching this space with considerable interest, and will keep clients informed about all implications as the legislation takes final shape.