The New Zealand Law Society is recommending to sole practitioners that the start of 2018 is a good time to review their power of attorney arrangements.
Section 44 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 requires sole practitioners to appoint an attorney and an alternate under a power of attorney which authorises them to conduct the sole practice if the sole practitioner is unable to do so.
"It is an opportune time to make contact with your attorney and alternate and update them on all aspects of your practice," says Law Society Registry Manager Christine Schofield.
"If you have changed your password during 2017, upgraded your software, changed PI insurance providers or made any other significant changes, your attorney needs to be advised of this.
"If you are the attorney for a sole practitioner should be proactive and make contact directly. Such updates may make all the difference in an unexpected situation where an attorney is required to step in to run a practice at short notice."
Ms Schofield says acting now can provide peace of mind for both attorney and donor by allowing them to discuss an action plan in the event of a power of attorney being invoked.
"This may include how files will be referred on and who else might be able to provide some support to the donor - for example, does the attorney have a list of lawyer friends or colleagues who would be able to help if needed?"
Further information about the types of matters which sole practitioners and their attorneys should be aware of is available here.