Personal Planning

financial & legal matters on your behalf

What is “Power of Attorney”?

A Power of Attorney allows a capable adult to appoint a person or persons to handle his/her financial and legal matters in the event they are unable to do so themselves or if they need assistance in these areas. This is particularly useful if you become incapacitated due to physical or mental health problems, or in the event of your absence. The document also specifies whether these individuals are allowed to act separately or are required to act together. Because of the financial authority conveyed through this document, it is critical that the Adult fully understands what powers they are granting with this document and they have complete trust in the person they are appointing. It also allows the Adult to compensate his/her designate for performing actions on his/her behalf.

What can be included in Power of Attorney?

Power of Attorney can be very general so you can give your attorney very wide powers to deal with all of your assets, or it can be very specific giving your child a power of attorney just to cash your old age security pension cheques for you or to sell your property.

Why I need Power of Attorney?

This document has great value for anyone who may need assistance with their daily finances now or in the future, or wants:

  • to ensure that a trusted person would take care of bill paying, correspondence and financial management in the event of incapacity or absence
  • to avoid the very lengthy and expensive process of a court appointed committee should they suddenly become incapable
  • to avoid having the Public Guardian and Trustee take over his or her affairs

Who can be my attorney?

The person who you appoint as your attorney should be someone who is prepared to accept the responsibility. The person must be 19 years or older, must be mentally capable and understand what it means to have power of attorney or to be a representative. You can appoint your spouse or partner, a friend or a family member. You can appoint more than one person. An attorney’s authority starts from the moment the Power of Attorney is signed, not when a need arises so it is essential that the person be trustworthy. There are some precautions a person can take to prevent it being used while you are still able to look after your own affairs.

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