The Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988 (‘PPPR Act’) protects people who have become incapacitated in some manner by enabling a Court-appointed guardian to take care of their personal care or property affairs.
As we age we start to consider having Enduring Powers of Attorney drawn up to ensure our wishes are known, however a life event, such as a serious head injury or stroke, can render someone incapable of fully managing their affairs.
Similarly, people may have a pre-existing intellectual disability or suffer a gradual decline in mental faculties as a result of dementia or mental illness.
No one, not even an incapacitated person’s immediate family, may make decisions on their behalf without their specific permission, and they may not have sufficient mental capacity to grant this permission.
PPPR Act protects people in these situations by enabling a Court-appointed guardian to take care of their personal care or property affairs.
What are the types of applications?
There are different types of applications to the Court depending on the incapacitated person’s circumstances, and the nature of the assistance they need. The two most commonly required applications are to request the Court to appoint:
- A property administrator or property manager to manage the incapacitated person’s property on their behalf.
- A welfare guardian to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person regarding their personal care.
Applications can be for other specific purposes, such as for the incapacitated person to be provided with certain living arrangements, or to receive specified medical treatment, or that they may not leave New Zealand without the Court’s permission.
Who can apply?
Applications are usually made by close relatives of the incapacitated person (the PPPR Act defines who is considered a ‘relative’), but can also be made by other people including doctors, social workers, or the managers of residential care facilities.
How can I make an application?
Your application must be made in the required format to the Family Court, and be accompanied by supporting documentation including a medical report confirming the affected person’s mental capacity, and an affidavit signed by you. The Court will appoint a lawyer to consider the merits of the application and your suitability to manage the affected person’s affairs.
If your application is successful, the Court will grant an order empowering you to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. The Court will make the powers subject to you meeting ongoing conditions, and you will be required to renew the application within a set time limit, usually three years.
We recommend you obtain expert help to ensure the application is successful and that it will appropriately address the needs of the affected person. At Wakefields Lawyers, we have experience in preparing PPPR applications and assisting our clients through what we know can be a potentially distressing process.