+64 4 566 6777 office@arl-lawyers.co.nz

Elder Law


ARL Lawyers have a team of experienced lawyers who can assist and advise you on all areas of Elder Law, whether it is preparing new enduring powers of attorney, considering how you would like your assets dealt with after your death or buying into a retirement village.

The specific areas in which our lawyers will assist you are as follows:

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Your Will is a document which sets out your instructions about how you wish your assets to be dealt with after your death and who will do this for you (known as your executors). A Will may include instructions for your funeral and appoint guardians for your children.

Some people consider writing their own Will, but since your Will can be one of the most important documents you sign, we recommend that your lawyer prepare one for you to ensure that your wishes are carried out. Wills which haven’t been prepared correctly may cause further issues for your family after you have died, issues which may be prevented by involving an experienced lawyer from the start.

We can help you by:

  • discussing how you can best and most fairly provide for your family and dependants, including establishing a testamentary trust in your Will
  • ensuring that your wishes have the legal effect you intend, and ensuring your Will is properly drawn up and valid
  • working through the alternatives you must consider (including who may challenge your Will and why).

We may also be able to help you structure ownership of your home in order to better reflect the wishes contained in your Will.

If you die intestate (without a Will), your assets will be distributed according to the provisions of the Administration Act 1969, which may not be according to your wishes. Your assets may be divided among a larger group of family members than you would otherwise have chosen, or expected.

If you would like to discuss making a Will with us, download our Wills checklist. It includes the information we will need from you.

Wills Checklist

Enduring Powers of Attorney

Enduring Powers of Attorney allow you to appoint someone (the Attorney) to act on your behalf in the event that you are unable to manage your own affairs. You are able to specify in the document how you want matters to be handled and under what circumstances your Attorney can act for you. There are two types of Enduring Powers of Attorney:

  • an Enduring Power of Attorney in relation to your property, and
  • an Enduring Power of Attorney in relation to your personal care and welfare.

We recommend that you arrange both types of Enduring Powers of Attorney. These can be given to the same person or to different people, depending on your wishes and circumstances. You can authorise the Attorney to act in all of your affairs or only some of them. You can also set conditions and restrictions about how your property should be dealt with or what you would like to happen to you.

While it’s commonly an area that elderly people think about, we strongly recommend that everyone has Enduring Powers of Attorney in place. In the event that you unexpectedly lose capacity to make decisions for yourself and you do not have Enduring Powers of Attorney in place, your family may be required to obtain orders from the Family Court to act as your welfare guardian and property manager.

Enduring Powers of Attorney (PDF)
Attorney duties (PDF)
EPA Checklist (PDF)

Buying Into a Retirement Village

Buying into a retirement village is different to buying a house. Villages vary considerably in their accommodation, legal and financial structures, and management. Depending on the village, you may be purchasing a right to occupy a certain apartment or an actual apartment, but will be required to re-sell it back to the village on your death.

The Retirement Villages Act 2003 provides intending residents and current residents with certain rights and outlines the responsibilities of village operators.

We are experienced in helping people buying into villages ensuring they understand the advantages and pitfalls which may come with that decision.

Buying into a retirement village (PDF)

Reverse Equity Mortgages

Taking out a reverse equity mortgage is a way of accessing money tied up in your home, without actually selling it. You can borrow money using your home as security that the loan will be repaid. When you die or move, the house will be sold to repay the loan. Repayments aren’t required before that time, which allows you to obtain a loan that you may not have had the income to repay.

These mortgages are generally only available to people aged over 60 and tend to work best for those who are older, as the amount of interest which is eventually repaid will increase depending on how long the loan is outstanding.

Reverse equity mortgages are complex and the implications of taking one out should be carefully considered. Legal advice must always be taken and we are able to assist you with this important decision.


Establishing a Family Trust can be a useful way of structuring your property affairs. Follow the Trusts link for more detailed information on Family Trusts.