A hui was called by ADL (Auckland Disability Law) on the 30 July, 2012 to deliver some disturbing news. They said along with 26 community law centres the ADL would be facing closure by 2013.
What is the Auckland disability law?
It is a state funded service which provides essential legal advice and advocacy for people with disabilities.
I am grossly disturbed that such a valuable and necessary service that plays such an integral role in the disability community, is even being considered for closure!
I told the Aucklander: “ADL acknowledges the complex legal requirements for people with disabilities. There’s a whole segment of stuff that really needs addressing on a one-on-one basis with the client and the family and it’s a real shame to see an axe hanging over it.”
Development manager, Nicola Owen was quoted by the Aucklander saying: “The closure would be a huge step backwards. Before we existed, people would have to go into their community law centre for assistance or, often, those with disabilities didn’t access help at all. Other law centres don’t have the specialist knowledge that we offer.”
It was most helpful to me to get advice about setting up a family trust and investigating the power of attorney.
I have wheelchair-bound cerebal palsy. It has occured to me over the years that my life may end sooner than I expect it to. That’s not to say I won’t live a full and happy life, but there is a stark possibility I my life may be cut short.
Before I attended a seminar from ADL, I had no clue what power of attorney was. I would go as far to say not many disabled people and families would know what it is, without having ongoing relationship with legal proffessionals. I now have the confidence to know that the person I’ve appointed will make informed decisions on my behalf in the event I am not able for period of time. Power of attorney in my opinion is a vital legal tool that should be used by all people that have ongoing medical issues. While it is expensive to set up, it is well worth the effort to have the piece of mind that your business will be taken care of.
The family trust that I set up was less about mortality and more about formality. I wanted to structure my affairs in a way that benefited my family and more specifically, my daughter. As my success grows, so too will my assets and other valuable things that will need protection. I do not want to leave my estate so exposed that it gets eaten up by legal professionals and the government.
Such a thing was never put in my place for myself or my siblings. So I was determined to learn and achieve all I could about asset protection. If it wasn’t ADL I wouldn’t have either of these systems formalised and in place – power of attorney and family trust.
Those at the hui say it’s simply cost-cutting and the Government should extend a specialised disability law service throughout the country rather than ditching the only one available.
I urge everyone to get behind auckland disability and sign the open letter to the ministry of justice today! Whether you have a need for legal advice right now is irrelevant. At some point in your life, you will and by then, god forbid, it may be too late.
That said I will be following the situation closely and reporting on any developments.
to get in touch with ADL contact them via this link.
til next time