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Power of attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone (the attorney) the authority to act on another living person’s (the donor’s) behalf.
Sometimes the power being conferred can be quite narrow and relate to a particular matter (such as operating someone’s bank account), but it can be wider such as managing the donor’s affairs more generally.
There are two types of power of attorney
- Ordinary power of attorney
- Enduring power of attorney for property
Ordinary power of attorney
Enables a donor to appoint an attorney (or attorneys) to look after their affairs for them, but doesn't stop the donor from continuing to manage their own affairs.
It can be either a general power to act on the donor’s behalf in all matters or only on specific issues stated in the power of attorney (for example, to manage a bank account while the donor is overseas). An ordinary power of attorney is valid until it expires (if it's for a fixed term), but will be immediately revoked if you die or become incapable of making decisions.
Enduring power of attorney for property
Enables a donor to appoint an attorney (or attorneys) to look after their property and finances for them, and also doesn't stop the donor from continuing to manage their own affairs. But unlike an ordinary power of attorney, it will continue even after the donor no longer has the mental capacity to manage their own affairs.
The attorney can have a general power, for example, to act generally in all matters relating to the donor’s property, or a specific power, for example, over a bank account or finances.
This type of power of attorney is popular with retired customers wanting to give their children or loved ones the ability to deal with their property or finances if they become incapable of doing so.
How to lodge a power of attorney with Kiwibank
If you've given someone the authority to manage your bank accounts that you hold with us by appointing them as your attorney, you'll need to visit your local full service Kiwibank together with your attorney/s or they can come on their own (if you're mentally incapable). In both cases we'll require:
Original power of attorney documents, or a copy certified by a solicitor, which includes the signatures of both the donor (you) and attorney/s.
The attorney/s identity and address documentation, so we can set them up as a Kiwibank customer.
For an enduring power of attorney for property that states it takes effect in the event of the donor’s mental incapacity, we'll need to see a valid health practitioner’s medical certificate.
If an enduring power of attorney for property was created after 24 September 2008, we'll also need to see a certificate of witness. This must be signed by a lawyer or legal executive, or in the case of a trust signed by an employee/officer of the trustee corporation.
Once the power of attorney is set up on your account you can remove it at any time while you're still mentally capable, by visiting a branch, calling us on 0800 113 355 or through internet banking.
What can an attorney under a power of attorney do?
When you give someone your full authority to act on your behalf in relation to your accounts, this means they'll be able to do all the things you can do, including (but not limited to):
- Open new accounts
- Close your accounts
- Cancel automatic payments
- Sign loan agreements in your name
- Sign cheques on your behalf
- Change your account details (e.g. your postal address)
Remember, it's up to you to decide how much power the property attorney will have. Your attorney’s powers are limited to the scope that's described in the power of attorney.
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