Protecting the Elderly

Using an enduring power of attorney

People often find themselves looking after someone else's money or property under an enduring power of attorney (EPA) but they are unsure what they are supposed to do. A recent High Court decision (Public Trust v V [2015] NZHC 1928) demonstrates the risks of ignoring the strict duties which are imposed. Although this is an actual case the names have been changed for privacy reasons. Read more…

In recent years there has been a significant increase in online abuse particularly of vulnerable young people. A high profile example was the 2013 'Roast Busters' case involving teenage boys bragging of sexual activities with girls. This article looks at what remedies are available when cyberbullying takes place.

Cyberbullying has become commonplace with dreadful consequences for the victims including depression and suicide. In September 2015, a 24 year-old-man was arrested in Denmark after a joint investigation between New Zealand and Danish authorities. The man posted private photos of an Auckland schoolgirl on websites and subsequently hacked the computers of the girl's family and school. Read more…

If you are in a de facto relationship, there could be significant financial implications for you if you separate, or if your partner (or you) dies.

The principle piece of legislation which deals with the division of property belonging to couples or married couples is the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 (the PRA). Substantial reforms in 2001 extended the scope of the PRA to cover de facto relationships. but what exactly constitutes a de facto relationship in the eyes of the law? Read more…

Supplying Drinks to Young People

Over the summer, young people will be keen to celebrate the end of the school year and enjoy the long holidays.

It's timely to remind you that it's a criminal offence to supply alcohol to anyone under 18 years old without the 'express consent' of their parent or their legal guardian. Express consent can come from a conversation, an email or text. (Express consent isn't required if the young person is married, in a civil union or living with a de facto partner.)

Earlier this year a Christchurch woman appeared in the District Court and was fined $2,400 for supplying alcohol to six teenagers at her daughter's 14th birthday party.

The courts have sent a clear message to those supplying alcohol to minors; such offending is unacceptable. If you're hosting a party for your teenager, you should speak to other parents first. Even a casual barbecue with a couple of beers could result in a conviction if another parent was to report anything to police.

In September a new bill was introduced to Parliament that will change the rules around how swimming pools are to be fenced. The government says the proposed legislation will give a more consistent and practical approach to proect people (and children in particular) from drowning.

 

We're not sure if this new legislation will come into force before the summer holidays, but it's a reminder that you must always watch children when you are near the water - whether you're at a public swimming pool, you have a pool of your own or you're at the beach. As well, if you're an adult and either can't swim or you're not confident, please be careful when you swim in a pool, or you're at the beach or the river.

 

Drownings in this country have increased in 2015. DrownBase (Water Safety New Zealand's database) shows that as at 11 September 2015 there have been 68 drownings so far this year, compared with 54 at the same time in 2014. There were two under-5 drownings; one drowning in the 5-13 year-old age bracket; 56 of these drownings were male; 45 were in rivers, beaches and tidal waters; and 15 were Maori.

Make sure you have a current Will – make an End of Year resolution

With summer, Christmas and the New Year fast approaching now is a good time to make an End of Year Resolution to get your affairs in order. In this past year you may have bought a house, established a business, moved in with your partner, welcomed a baby, booked your big OE or perhaps there are wedding bells on your horizon. Whatever this year has brought you, now is an opportune time to ensure that your Will reflects your current situation. If you don't have a Will, now is the time to get one.

Read more…

Downie Stewart Lawyers Dunedin 8th Level, 265 Princes St, Dunedin, 9016 03-477 2263
PO Box 1345, Dunedin 9054 |  Fax: 03 477 4021  |  E: info@downiestewart.co.nz