Richard Williams

A life plan is the collective term used for a number of different documents.  Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Trusts to name a few. 

Life plans are about protecting your loved ones.   They are about helping other people deal with the curve balls that life might throw at you. 

An Enduring Power of Attorney helps your family by making it clear who you want to make decisions for you if you lose the capacity to make those decisions yourself. 

A Will helps your family, by setting out a road map detailing what you want to happen to the things you own after your death.

Without a written Will or an Enduring Power of Attorney, your family have to apply to the Court for guidance.  That is a costly, stressful process.

Only 50% of adults in New Zealand have a will.  I would imagine less than 10% have an Enduring Power of Attorney.  Those statistics reflect the fact that Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney force people to look at their mortality, to think about things that they don’t want to think about. 

I’m trying to change that mind set.  I’m trying to get people to realise that it’s not about you.  It’s about your loved ones. It’s about the people you leave behind.

I want people to realise that it’s not about death.  It’s not about dementia.  It’s about the lives of the family and the people you leave behind or who have to look after you.  Wills and EPAs are about their lives.  About helping and protecting them.  If people understand that, then I hope they will be more likely to make a will, appoint an attorney and put in place a life plan.

Essentially a Will is a document that speaks at a time when you are unable to.  It sets out what you want to happen to the things you own following your death.  If your children are minors, it sets out who you want to look after them.    It is important to review your Will every three to five years or whenever something important happens in your life.

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to appoint somebody you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make decisions yourself or if you become unable to understand the consequences of the decisions that you make.  It allows someone else to make decisions in relation to your personal care and welfare and your property.

Enduring Powers of Attorney are not just for the elderly.  While Dementia and Alzheimers are more prevalent the older you get, we are all, regardless of age, susceptible to, for instance, head injuries, which can have the same debilitative effect.

Life Plans are like insurance.  We hate having to pay the premiums, but we’re grateful when we need to make a claim. 

Your family will be grateful that you cared so much about them that you took the time to put in place a life plan that would make their lives easier if something happened to you. 

If you don’t have a Will or an enduring Power of Attorney and want one, come and see me.


The content of this post is necessarily general  and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this post. The advice given in this post is based on New Zealand law only.