I can’t stress it enough; the Power of Attorney (POA) is one of the most important documents you can have to protect yourself and your family. A Power of Attorney is most commonly needed during difficult times such as times of illness, an accident, or death – during a time that an individual is no longer able to make decisions.
You have the ability to make difficult times like these easier and control the situation. Assigning a POA means no surprises or last minute planning for your loved ones because someone has been given Powers of Attorney. Imagine how difficult it is for family members and friends to make decisions during a time like this, you can make this situation a lot easier by preparing them in advance.
Here are the most common questions surrounding a POA:
1. What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the right to act on your behalf.
2. Are there different kinds of Power of Attorney?
Yes. In Ontario there are three kinds of Power of Attorney:
- A Continuing Power of Attorney for Property (CPOA) covers your financial affairs and allows the person you name to act for you even if you become mentally incapable.
- A non-continuing Power of Attorney for Property covers your financial affairs but can’t be used if you become mentally incapable. You might give this Power of Attorney, for example, if you need someone to look after your financial transactions while you’re away from home for an extended period of time.
- A Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POAPC) covers your personal decisions, such as housing and health care.
3. Does the law require everyone to have a Power of Attorney?
No. Making a Power of Attorney is voluntary. No one can be forced to make one.
4. What does the term “attorney” mean?
The term “attorney” refers to the person or persons you have chosen to act on your behalf. This person doe not have to be a lawyer.
If you have your Powers of Attorney in place but have some questions or would like advice on how to select them, a great place to start is the information package from The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee of the Office of the Attorney General for Ontario. You can find the document at http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/pgt/livingwillqa.pdf.
I am also happy to help with the process and have several lawyers in my network of trusted professionals who can prepare the POA documents for you.
Your friend, Your Neighbour, Your Realtor,