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Powers of Attorney: What are they and when can my attorney use them?

For many Canadians, it’s a big concern knowing how to manage their money, health, property, and finances as they age or when life changes. Without proper planning, these matters are complicated. Fortunately, Powers of Attorney can help.

What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document in which you give someone called an attorney the right to make decisions for you. This person should know and understand your wishes and needs. They should be someone your trust completely.

There are two types of Power of Attorney in Ontario:
A Power of Attorney for Personal Care gives your attorney authority over your personal care such as health, security, and hygiene. It also gives you a chance to determine the kind of care you may or may not want. As opposed to the Continuing Power of Attorney for Property, a Power of Attorney for Personal Care only takes effect when you become mentally incapable of making decisions for yourself.

A Continuing Power of Attorney for Property gives your attorney authority over all or some of your finances and property except the authority to make a will on your behalf. It allows for the management of your finances and property on your behalf while you are still mentally capable of managing your own affairs, but also lets your attorney continue acting for you if you become mentally incapable of managing your finances and property. It can be “specific” or “limited”, giving authority to your attorney for a limited task like selling a house or giving them authority for a specific period of time.

A Continuing Power of Attorney for Property takes effect as soon as you sign it. In some cases, it is possible to have the Power of Attorney come into effect only when you become mentally incapable. This must be specified in the document and in advance.

What can my attorney do?
It is up to you how much or how little authority your attorney has. If you don’t outline the parameters of their power, they can do, on your behalf, almost everything with your finances and property that you could do. Needless to say planning is a very important step in your own personal care and matters surrounding your property.

A serious decision
Choosing the right person to act on your behalf is a very important decision and should be done with a great deal of thought and consideration. For Powers of Attorney tailored to specific individual and corporate needs, contact Sicotte Guilbault for the expert guidance you require.

by: Chanelle Dutrisac - Lawyer
posted on: November 19, 2019