One of the most important documents you can have to protect you and your loved ones in the event of an unexpected emergency is a power of attorney.
But what exactly is a power of attorney?
Your power of attorney (POA) and healthcare directives are legal documents that give another person you trust, the power to represent you and make decisions on your behalf in the event you are medically unable to do so yourself.
In Saskatchewan, most people make two different types of POA documents — an enduring power of attorney and a healthcare directive. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between the two documents and take you through the process of making legal power of attorney documents in Saskatchewan.
What Is An Enduring Power Of Attorney in Saskatchewan?
In Saskatchewan, an enduring POA is a document that gives someone the power to make decisions related to your financial affairs and property, if you become mentally incapable. This ability is given in advance through your POA, by you, the “grantor”, “donor”, or “maker” of the document.
The person you appoint is called an attorney. (Note that ‘attorney’ does not refer to a lawyer in a power of attorney). Your attorney is given the authority to perform common acts you would normally be able to do, if you were capable. For example, this can include activities like paying your bills, maintaining any property you own, managing your investments, and collecting debt.
How is this different from a limited power of attorney?
Limited powers of attorney are set for a specified period of time. For example, when you are travelling. We are referring only to enduring powers of attorney in this article, which continue past the point of mental capacity.
At this time, Willful does not offer limited (also known as non-continuing) power of attorney documents.
Why Do Saskatchewan Residents Need An Enduring POA?
An enduring POA is a document you may never need, but it will offer you protection in the event of an unexpected emergency. In the event you become medically incapacitated, your enduring POA will allow your attorney to step in and carry out acts on your behalf.
Your attorney can help do daily tasks, such as make bill payments and maintain your property. Essentially your attorney will be able to take care of anything that may come up in your everyday life, on your behalf.
An enduring power of attorney guarantees that your property and finances are left in the hands of someone you trust, in the event you are unable to manage them yourself.
What Is A Health Care Directive In Saskatchewan?
Your health care directive is a document that appoints someone to make decisions related to your personal care and outlines your wishes for personal healthcare decisions. Your health care directive comes into effect in the event you are unable to communicate yourself. Some people also refer to this document as an advance directive.
In Saskatchewan, you appoint a proxy in your healthcare directive. This person is responsible for making decisions related to your personal care, such as health care, housing, meals, and clothing. Your proxy is also responsible for communicating the life support measures and other personal decisions that you’ve outlined in your health care directive.
Most people choose a spouse, relative, or a close friend to be their proxy. It should be someone you trust, who has good judgement and is familiar with your wishes.
What Are Living Wills In Saskatchewan?
Saskatchewan does not use the term living will, when referring to this legal document. When referring to a living will, most people are referring to a document that outlines your wishes for medical treatment or end of life. You make these decisions in your health care directive.
A living will is different than your last will and testament.
Why Do Saskatchewan Residents Need A Health Care Directive?
Health care directives aren’t just for seniors or individuals considering end-of-life care. You never know when you may experience a medical emergency. If that happens, it’s best to have a health care directive so you know that decisions regarding your medical treatment and health are in the hands of someone you trust. Beyond medical care, it can even include things like who you’d like to live with, where, and other personal non-financial decisions.
Your health care directive can bring you peace of mind knowing your wishes will be carried out in the event you are incapacitated. Documenting your decisions can also benefit your loved ones, by reducing the stress and burden of having to make difficult decisions on your behalf.
How Do I Get A Power Of Attorney In Saskatchewan?
Now that you know you need these documents, Despite what many people believe, it’s actually really easy to make your enduring power of attorney and health care directive in Saskatchewan. Here are the 3 main ways to get a legal POA:
- Online POA platforms - Yep! It’s possible to make legal power of attorney documents online. Not only is it convenient, but also affordable! Online platforms like Willful, are logic-based and ask you questions about your wishes, so you can feel confident knowing your document reflects your wishes. With Willful, your final document also includes instructions specific to Saskatchewan for witnessing and signing, to ensure your document is legally-binding.
- Power of attorney forms - These forms are typically fill-in-the-blank and can be found at a supply store or bookstore. They are often cookie-cutter and limited in flexibility. These forms may not cover all your wishes and only reflect one way of creating a power of attorney document. That being said, they’re a good free and low cost option. If this is the best option for you, make sure you find a form that meets your needs and is in compliance with the legal requirements in Saskatchewan.
- Lawyer-drafted power of attorney - Lawyers are able to offer the highest level of customization and build you a document that can cover any complex requests you may have. Lawyers are a great resource if you need legal advice. However, a lawyer-drafted POA can be very expensive and most Canadians don’t need that level of complexity.
Do I Need A Lawyer To Make An Enduring Power Of Attorney or Health Care Directive in Saskatchewan?
No – a lawyer is not required when making a legal enduring power of attorney or healthcare directive in Saskatchewan. There are some criteria you need to meet, in order for your document to be legally-binding. According to the Saskatchewan Power of Attorney Act, 2002 and The Health Care Directives and Substitute Health Care Decision Makers Act, 2015 the requirements are as follows:
- You must be of sound mind and understand the nature and effect of the power of attorney
- You must sign your power of attorney document in the presence of two valid witnesses and they must sign after to verify that they have witnessed your signature.
- Signatures must be located at the end of the document and be in wet ink (It must be signed in pen. You can’t sign an estate planning document digitally in Canada at this time.)
- You must print and store your POA as a physical document (You currently cannot store your document online or in the cloud.)
Does A Power of Attorney Need To Be Notarized In Saskatchewan?
No – your enduring POA or health care directive do not need to be notarized in Saskatchewan. The only requirements are that you’ve followed the guidelines for signing and witnessing your document!