Many people believe if something happens to them and they are unable to make decisions for themselves, either financial, about their health or both, their family can do so for them. This is not necessarily true as legal authority is needed. One way to protect yourself is through the use of a Power of Attorney. This empowers a person or persons of your choosing to act on your behalf for financial or personal care decisions.

  • Sometimes called a “Living Will”
  • Legal document whereby you give someone the power to make personal care decisions on your behalf if you become mentally incapable of making them yourself.
    • Personal care decisions are decisions about your health care (including medical treatment), diet, housing, clothing, hygiene and safety.

Lets your Attorney make decisions about your property such as finances, home and possessions and continue to go on acting for you if you become mentally incapable of managing your property.

  • The document must either be called a Continuing Power of Attorney or state that it gives your Attorney the power to continue acting for you if you become mentally incapable.
    • Property decisions are financial dealings, such as banking, signing cheques, buying or selling real estate and buying consumer goods.

The person you have appointed should keep an accurate account of money transactions.

Remember to take extra care when deciding whom to appoint as your Attorney. Do you consider them to be responsible, trustworthy and good at handling money?

 

Theft by person holding Power of Attorney

Any person who misuses or commits theft by holding Power of Attorney may be subject to charges under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Powers of Attorney are extremely important documents. It may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer before making a final decision to ensure the document reflects your wishes.