A couple were in their late forties with two teenage rangatahi.  Both parents were working fulltime, their rangatahi were at the stage of becoming more independent and their lives in general were going well.

The husband had been feeling healthy within himself and it came as a shock to his wife and his whanau when they were called to say that he had suffered a brain aneurysm and was in Hospital.  The doctors advised that the husband had lost mental capacity.

The couple had assumed because they were married if anything happened to one of them, the other person would automatically have rights to manage their affairs as the next of kin.  Unfortunately they did not have Enduring Powers of Attorney in place.  If they did, managing the husband’s financial affairs would have been straightforward and would have let his wife focus on her whanau at this difficult time.

Instead the wife needed to apply to the Family Court to be appointed as her husband’s Property Manager.  This can be a lengthy and expensive process.  It took approximately two months to prepare this application as it needed to include detailed information and evidence from medical professionals.  Once the application was prepared, signed and lodged with the Family Court it took a further two months for the Court to process the application and seal the order.  This included a lawyer being appointed for the husband to represent his interests.  The legal and court costs were all additional and added to the burden.

There were also further obligations that the wife needed to comply with as a Property Manager including filing financial statements at the beginning of the managership and annually thereafter.  The Court also set a date for the property order to be reviewed within a three year period.

If the wife had been appointed under an Enduring Power of Attorney it would not have been necessary to apply to the Court and the obligations, additional expenses and stress to the whanau would not have been incurred.