The power of a Power of Attorney
- Legal documents for a complete emergency plan
- Protect yourself in the event of incapacitation
- Make your medical care wishes known
- Create your POAs with your legal will for as little as $149
An essential step in adulthood is properly protecting your finances, health, and personal decisions as you age and as life changes take place. You may not have even considered what would happen if you experienced an accident or a personal medical emergency, and it’s crucial to plan for those scenarios.
The word “attorney” in these situations does not mean “lawyer”, they are simply a preselected person acting on your behalf. Making these decisions now provides certainty that your affairs will be taken care of in the event you are temporarily unable to manage them.
What is a power of attorney?
Power of attorney, or POA for short, is a legal document that gives someone you trust the authority to make decisions on your behalf, and represent you to others. This ability is given in advance by you, the “grantor”, “donor”, or “maker” of the document.
The authority may be general in nature, encompassing all acts that the attorney may perform, or be limited to specific acts, such as the payment of bills, investment of certain assets, sale of specified real estate, or authority to transfer securities from the attorney’s name to that of another person.
Province-specific powers of attorney
Certain provinces may have different signing requirements for power of attorney documents, and the documents and roles may have different names. Here are the different names according to our active provinces.
Financial/Legal: In Ontario, you make a power of attorney for property and in Alberta, BC, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick you make an enduring power of attorney
Personal/Medical Care: In Ontario and New Brunswick, you make a power of attorney for personal care, in Alberta and Nova Scotia, you make a personal directive, in British Columbia, you make a representation agreement, and in Saskatchewan and Manitoba you make a healthcare directive
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Understanding the differences
Navigating POAs and living wills can be pretty confusing (especially since they have so many different names!) but here's a quick breakdown:
General Power of Attorney: Covers a wide range of transactions, while limited powers of attorney cover only specific situations. An ordinary power of attorney expires if you become mentally incompetent.
Durable Power of Attorney: Authorizes someone to act in a wide range of legal and business matters and remains in effect even if you are incapacitated. The POA can take effect immediately or can become effective only if you are incapacitated.
Enduring Power of Attorney: Can take effect as soon as you sign it. This is a legal document that lets your attorney continue acting for you if you become mentally incapable of managing your finances and property.
Special or Limited Power of Attorney: Allows an individual to give another person the ability to make certain legal or financial decisions on their behalf under specific, clearly laid-out circumstances.
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