What is Power of Attorney?
Put simply, a Power of Attorney is a document allowing you to select people to make property-related or medical-related decisions on your behalf while you are alive, but unable to make those decisions for yourself. The document becomes invalid on death or revocation.
How is it used?
There are two kinds of Powers of Attorney in Ontario: 1) a Power of Attorney for Property, and 2) a Power of Attorney for Personal Care. Under a Power of Attorney for Property, your chosen decision-makers (also known as Attorneys) are given broad powers such as writing your cheques, accessing your safety deposit box, and selling your property. Under a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, your Attorney can choose where you live and what life-saving medical treatment you should get.
Specific Powers of Attorney are a way to limit your Attorneys’ power to only making certain decision for you. For example, this is useful if you’re travelling outside the country and want someone to take care of your house, but not have access to your bank accounts.
When is it used?
Powers of Attorney kick in if a physician or capacity assessor deems you to be incapable of making your own financial decisions or looking after your own personal care, welfare and treatment. For example, if you’re in a coma.
What if I don’t have a Power of Attorney?
If you don’t have one for property, the court or Public Guardian and Trustee will appoint a guardian of property to look after your property without your approval.
If you don’t have one for personal care, the court will appoint a guardian of the person to look after some or all of your medical needs.
In either case, it is risky especially if you suspect that the person the court or Public Guardian and Trustee is likely to appoint will not act in your best interest. That’s why it’s so important to choose someone you trust has a genuine concern for your well-being.
What can I do now if I don’t have a Power of Attorney?
Speak to a lawyer about your wishes. Lawyers can help draft your Powers of Attorney usually within the same day.
At KYH Law, we draft Powers of Attorney documents based on our clients’ wishes, and we sign as witnesses on the spot. Our step-by-step process is quick, easy and convenient. The firm is open on weekdays and is conveniently located in Markham, Ontario. Call us today at (905) 305-0700 for a free consultation.