Brian Wilson Law | Law Simplified | Powers of Attorney

Powers of Attorney

Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a document whereby you (the “Donor”) authorize someone else (the “Donee”) to act or make decisions on your behalf while you are still alive.

Upon your death, the power of attorney ends.  Your will comes into effect and the executor handles your estate.

 

There are 2 kinds of powers of attorney:

ONE

Powers of Attorney for Property

Powers of Attorney for Property allows to designate someone else to handle your financial affairs, sign documents (eg. contracts, cheques, house sale documents) and generally do anything that you can do, except make or change your will.  You as Donor can give the Donee very broad powers or those powers can be restricted to specific purposes, such as signing certain documents that will need to be signed while you are travelling abroad.

Powers of Attorney for Property can be drafted to take effect right away or only upon you becoming mentally incapable of managing your own affairs, due to mental illness, (eg. Alzheimer’s) or a physical one (such as being in a coma).

Two reasons why you need a power of attorney for property:

  • So your financial affairs can be managed if you become mentally incapacitated (commonly done in conjunction with wills as part of the estate planning); or
  • So your financial affairs can be managed if you are away for a significant amount of time.

TWO

Powers of Attorney for Personal Care

Powers of Attorney for Personal Care allow you designate someone (the Donee) to make medical decisions on your behalf where you have have become mentally incapable of making your own medical decisions, due to mental illness (eg. Alzheimer’s) or a physical condition (eg. being in a coma). They are often prepared in conjunction with wills as part of the estate planning.  You can give the Donee a very broad discretion to exercise their best judgment or their discretion can be limited with specific instructions or limitations (eg. no blood transfusions, do not prolong my life unnecessarily if there is no chance of recovery, etc.).

People often inquire about “living wills” which are essentially an expression of one’s wishes in the event that medical decisions need to be made on their behalf. Unlike a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, they are not legally binding. If you feel strongly about such wishes, our advice is to incorporate them into a Power of Attorney for Personal Care.

Costs:

Our fees for powers of attorney are competitive. We are happy to discuss your needs with you and provide you with an estimate of our fees in advance at no cost.  So feel free to contact us.