What is a Power of Attorney?
A legal document that appoints a person to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
Although planning for the worst is not something we want to think about, it is something that we should do for the sake of your family and loved ones. In an event where you have a debilitating disease such as mental illness, accident or stroke, an Enduring Power of Attorney will allow your designated attorney to make important financial and legal decisions on your behalf.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is the most common form of Power of Attorney. An enduring Power of Attorney is a document that you (a capable adult) can use to appoint another person, called an attorney, to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. It continues (or endures) even if you become mentally incapable. Without an enduring power of attorney, if you become incapable, someone (such as your spouse or other family member) may have to apply to BC Supreme Court to be appointed your committee of estate to look after your legal and financial affairs.
Who can you appoint in an Enduring Power of 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. Your attorney can be a spouse, friend or family member.
An attorney’s authority starts from the moment the Enduring Power of Attorney is signed, not when a need arises so it is essential that the person is trustworthy. There are some precautions a person can take to prevent it from being used while you are still able to look after your affairs. These precautions can be discussed in further details during your appointment.
Can you appoint more than one attorney?
Yes, you can. You can decide if you want your attorney to be a primary (first attorney) and alternate (second attorney), or if you want your attorneys to work together (jointly) or separately.
Can a power of attorney be used for health care decisions?
A Power of Attorney cannot be used for health or personal care decisions. The document to appoint someone to help you with your heath care or personal care is called a Representation Agreement.