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A power of attorney

 

If you want to appoint someone to take care of your financial and/or legal matters, whether you are capable or incapable of doing it by yourself, you should have a legal document called a “Power of Attorney”. This will allow, the person appointed by you, to act on your behalf legally. The person you appoint to act on your behalf is called the “attorney”. As an adult, after your parents’ rights have ended, no one has authority towards your legal and financial assets; therefore you need to have a written Power of Attorney to appoint someone on your behalf.

Requirements (Donor):

• Person should be 19 year of age or over.

• Person signing the document must be mentally competent. A person should be able to fully understand what he or she is signing.

• Power of Attorney must be signed and dated in front of two witnesses, both present at the same time. Witnesses must be adults. If you have a notary or lawyer preparing the Power of Attorney then only one witness is needed. Witnesses should not be named as attorney(s) in the Power of Attorney. A Parent, a Child or a Spouse cannot act as a witness.

Types of Power of Attorney: There are three different types of power of attorneys: General Power of Attorney, Specific Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney.

General Power of Attorney: It does not specify limits and/or the powers of the attorney appointed by you. With a General Power of Attorney, the attorney can make all the decisions that the Donor can make. Also the Attorney is permitted to handle financial and legal affairs, but cannot make any decisions related to health care. For example with a general power of attorney, the attorney is allowed to handle all the matters up until the time provided in the power of attorney.

Specific Power of Attorney: It is the document which gives limited or specific powers to the person you appoint as an “attorney”. For example, the Attorney could be authorized to sign a cheque for a specific bank account to pay household bills. Or with the use of a Specific Power of Attorney, you can appoint someone to sign the documents related to the sale of a house and deposit the proceeds in a specific bank account.

An Enduring Power of attorney: A legal document that enables an adult to appoint another person to manage the adult’s financial affairs and property while capable and continues if the adult becomes mentally incapable. It is effective when you are not capable of making your own decisions. An Enduring Power of Attorney does not stop you from managing your own affairs, as long as you are capable. You may make an Enduring Power of Attorney if you are 19 years of age or older, and you are capable of making decisions. The law presumes you are capable unless it is shown that you are not.

Who Should I Appoint? People usually appoint their spouse, siblings, and children or most trusted family members. You cannot appoint a care giver who is paid to provide you with personal or health care services or an employee at the facility where you live if the place provides health or personal care services. If the person providing the care is your spouse, parent, or a child, then this rule does not apply.

What does a power of attorney cover? A Power of attorney covers only your legal and financial decisions. It does not cover any health care decisions. A power of attorney usually takes effect as soon as you and your attorney(s) sign the documents. You can continue to manage your financial and legal affairs for as long as you are capable. But your attorney can help you with any complicated matters. An enduring power of attorney can also take effect at a specified time that you name in the document.

How can you end a power of attorney? You can end the Power of Attorney any time. General Power of Attorney automatically ends when you become incapable unless you included the enduring clause or you are certified as “incapable” by the Director of a Mental Health Facility. Specific Power of Attorney ends when the purpose of the Power of Attorney has ended. You can end your Enduring Power of Attorney as long as you are capable. You must put your decision in writing. The written decision is called a “Notice of Revocation”. You must give a signed and dated copy of the written Notice of Revocation to your attorney(s).

An Enduring power of attorney ends as soon as you are dead. Your power of attorney is only valid while you are alive. The only valid document after your death is the Will.

What kind of Power of Attorney is right for you? Depends on your situation. Your notary will help you decide, which power of attorney is best for you in which situation. If you have any questions or want more information please give us a call @ 604-503-3853.