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Life Style - Finance and Legal

Financial and legal planning are very important issues when looking ahead.  In order to make the best decision for your own circumstances, we suggest you obtain as much independent financial and legal advice that you can. 
It is also important to that you are aware of your legal rights and understand how to protect yourself against common scams and know your rights if you receive faulty goods or services.

Work and Income Services Payment
Legal Advice
Enduring Power of Attorney
Wills
Scams
Complaining Successfully
Funeral Grant
Valuing Age
Guide to help untangle credit
Study on business attitudes to an ageing workforce
Websites of Interest


The Banking Ombudsman scheme has developed a suite of quick guides covering a wide range of banking issues:

  • Scheme complaints process guides - how the Banking Ombudsman Scheme can help you, how we investigate, facilitation, conciliation, compensation, suspending a bank's debt recovery process
  • Bank accounts - account mandates, closure of accounts, dealing with a deceased customer's bank account, joint accounts and relationship breakdowns, missing accounts, stopping and freezing accounts
  • Cards - contactless technology, looking after credit and debit cards and card PIN numbers, credit and debit card transaction charge backs and travel cards
  • Lending - concerns about lending decisions, credit card debt balance transfers, early repayment costs on fixed rate loans, hardship and financial difficulty, guaranteeing somebody else's debt, mortgagee sales, overdrafts, residential loan-loan value lending restrictions, selling property to release capital
  • Other - anti-money laundering legislation - changes to banking, common scams targeting bank customers, financial abuse of the elderly, hardship and financial difficulty, how credit law changes affect banking, payment of council arrears, privacy and confidentiality and retention of information
  • Payment systems - ATM's, cheque clearance, direct debits, mistaken payments, mobile banking, payment processing, telegraphic transfers
  • Savings and Investment - breaking term deposits, investing KiwiSaver complaint

The Govt.nz team within Government Information Services has just published new information for over 65's combining income and personal finances content from DIA, the Ministry of Social Development, Veteran's Affairs, Inland Revenue and others.

Information covers a range of content such as Managing your money in retirement; NZ Super; various Benefits and allowances and Rates rebates


Work and Income Services Payments
If you’re 65 years or older, you may be able to get New Zealand Superannuation and a SuperGold Card. You may also be able to receive extra financial help. For information on what you may be intitled to visit the Work and Income website

The SuperGold Card is a discount and concession card issued free to all eligible seniors and veterans in recognition of the contribution they have made and continue to make to New Zealand society. If you are eligible for the Community Servcies Card this will be incorporated onto your SuperGold Card. 

For more information visit the Community Services Card page on the Work and Income website or the SuperGold Card website.  The Ministry of Social Development website has a page that includes information on entitlements for those 65 plus.

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Legal Advice
Limited free legal advice is available from your local Citzens Advice Bureaux. You will need to contact them to make an appointment.  For contact details visit their website www.cab.org.nz

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Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)
There are two kinds of EPA: One that covers a person’s property and one that covers their personal care and welfare

EPA for Property

  • You an choose if you want an EPA for property to take effect now, or when you can no longer manage your affairs.
  • You can give the attorney full power over all your property, or limit power eg helping to pay bills, or specific investments
  • You may appoint one or more persons or a trustee company, eg Public Trust

EPA for Personal Care and Welfare

  • This EPA will only come into effect if you become incapable of making or communicating your decisions. The decision on becoming mentally incapable will be made by a health professional who's qualified to assess mental capacity.
  • An EPA for personal care and welfare can only be given to one individual and not to a trustee company
  • The EPA can authorise the attorney to act in relation to your personal care and welfare generally, or only in relation to stated specific areas

Source: “What happens if you can no longer make decisions?  Why you need an enduring power of attorney”.  Age Concern New Zealand

Changes to Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) forms will make them easier to understand and use.
Together with changes to the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 that also take effect tomorrow, the changes will:

  • provide options to change or cancel previous EPAs
  • allow you to cancel your existing attorney and appoint a new one without affecting the EPA
  • Change the requirements for medical certificates of incapacity so that health practitioners can use their own versions if they contain the required information
  • Make it easier for people, a husband and wife for example, to appoint each other as their Enduring Power of Attorney by allowing them to use the same lawyer.
  • Require an authorised witness to certify that you understand what the documents are about and are not acting under duress.

For more information visit SuperSeniors

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Wills
It is important that you review your Will at regular intervals.  It is suggested every 5 – 10 years.  Your Will should reflect what you would like to happen in the event of your death in present times not what you thought many years ago.
As well as recommending reviewing your Will at regular intervals you should review it when there is a significant change in your life; for instance buying a new or additional property, or the loss of spouse or partner or changes in the lives of those who are to benefit from your Will, such as children.
The loss of spouse or partner may mean your Will needs review although many people have handled this eventuality in the way their Will was drawn up initially but it is still wise to check.  Sometimes your adult children’s marriages or relationships falter or breakdown completely meaning your wishes with regards people who joined the family by marriage or by long-term association with a child may be viewed differently in terms of inheritance than was the case previously.  Obviously the arrival of new family members such as grandchildren (or even great-grandchildren) means a review of your Will is important as you may wish to make changes reflecting your desire to include these important additions in the dispersal of your estate.
A Will is the only way you have of making your wishes known after your death; who you wish to share your Estate with, any restrictions and any gifts or donations you wish to make so it is important that this document always reflects your directions correctly.

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Scams
Scams succeed because they look like the real thing, and they push your buttons.
They speak to a strong need or desire … and they push hard for a natural and automatic human response.
Scammers will do anything to rip you off but you need to always be on alert - any offer that sounds too good to be true probably is.
You need to protect yourself, your identity and your money form scammers.
For information on common scams visit the Ministry of Consumer Affairs or Consumer Institute websites

For more information on the new online guide "Get online savvy: a guide for seniors" visit our Lifestyle - technology and the internet page.

The Banking Ombudsman has just published two quick guides on common banking issues.

quick guide on Financial abuse of the elderly

quick guide on common scams affecting bank customers

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Complaining Successfully
If you have a problem with something you have bought (either goods or services), the first step is to go back to the person selling the goods or providing the service and complain.
Most traders want the goodwill of their customers and will sort the problem out, however some may be more difficult to deal with.
In New Zealand we have two pieces of legislation that provide consumers with protection.
The Consumer Guarantees Act is about the quality of goods and services.  It protects customers from poor quality services and goods that do not meet reasonable expectations.
The Fair Trading Act prohibits false and misleading consumer information that give you a false impression about goods you are buying or services that are being provided.  It also
covers unfair practices such as offering prizes or gifts without intending to supply them or
using physical force, harassment or coercion when supplying goods or services.   For more information on the Acts visit the Ministry of Consumer Affairs website.

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Funeral Grant
You may get a Funeral Grant if you are the partner, spouse, child, parent or guardian of the deceased person or are arranging the funeral of someone with no partner, spouse or child

The funeral grant is income and asset tested.  The test depends on whether the deceased has a surviving partner or dependant child, or if the deceased is a child.
The deceased person must normally have lived in New Zealand

What the grant covers

  • Necessary costs such as Professional services for preparing the body for cremation or burial, eg embalming
  • The cost of a casket
  • Newspaper notice costs
  • Hearse fees
  • Compulsory fees for buying a burial plot
  • Cremation fees

How to apply

  • You will need to complete an application and provide:
  • Proof of death, eg a death certificate
  • Proof of funeral expenses
  • Proof of assets as at the date of death, eg bank statements for all accounts
  • Proof of income - if you are the partner or parent of the person who has died
  • Identification for yourself

Contact Senior Services 0800 552 002 for more information or visit the Work and Income New Zealand website

For information on planning a funeral visit the Funeral Director's Association of New Zealand website.

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Valuing Age - The economic contribution of older New Zealanders
This is an A3 flyer complied by Age Concern New Zealand that illustrates with the use of graphs the economic contribution of older New Zealanders. You can download a copy here.

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'Guide to help untangle credit and debit card transaction disputes' - a resource for your members
The Banking Ombudsman Scheme has published a Quick Guide about credit and debit card transaction disputes because of complaints each year from both credit card holders and merchants. The guide is written in a really easy to understand manner and could be useful if you need assistance with your credit card disputes. Read the guide here. 

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Businesses ignore New Zealand's ageing workforce
A recent survey carried out as part of the Retirement Commissioner's review of retirement income has found that the number of New Zealanders working past 65 has increased but most businesses are not geared up for them. It found 83% have no policies or strategies in place for workers aged over 50. And it doesn’t matter what sort of work they do: the results for those engaged in manual work, such as farming and forestry, were no different to those in manufacturing or the service sector.
Nor does the size of the organisation make any substantial difference: large workplaces are doing no better than small businesses. For more information and to view the survey visit Commission for Financial Capability.
The Commission is also running an online survey, asking New Zealanders what age they think they will retire and why.

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Websites of Interest

  • Work and Income New Zealand
  • Guardian Trust
  • Public Trust
  • Sorted is the Retirement Commission site that helps you plan and sort out the relevant money matters.
  • Law Access provides public access to an extensive range of law-related information.  It offers people with legal problems or questions quick and easy access to quality information on rights and responsibilities under specific laws, as well as more practical information such as how to contact local community law centre
  • Ministry of Social Development - Enduring Power of Attorney - protect your future

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