21 Feb The 4 Types of Power of Attorney – What You Need to Know
Powers of Attorney: What You Need to Know
Are you familiar with the different types of power of attorney when it comes to wills and estates? It’s important to know the difference when planning your estate so you can understand your options.
What is the Purpose of a Power of Attorney?
An attorney appointed pursuant to a power of attorney document is a trusted person, who can act on your behalf to make important decisions if you become incapacitated or unable to advocate for yourself. In the instance of healthcare, you can appoint an Attorney for Personal Care who can make decisions about your care when you are incapable of making those decisions yourself. Similarly, an Attorney for Property can make decisions about and manage your personal property when you are incapable of handling those affairs yourself.
Who Should I Appoint as a Power of Attorney?
First and foremost, you must be considered mentally capable to appoint attorneys under Power of Attorney documents and understand that whomever you appoint will be responsible for your personal welfare, and your assets. To be considered capable, you should understand:
● Your assets and their worth (approximately)
● Your personal obligations to your dependents (children, spouse, etc)
● Have a full understanding of the authority you are giving to the appointed Attorney
It’s important to carefully consider who you will appoint based on trustworthiness and responsibility. Here are a few things to note:
A personal care attorney will make decisions about your home, food, health, safety, hygiene, and clothing. A personal care attorney must be at least 16 years old and able to take on the responsibility if needed. Some rules apply in Canada, stating those who cannot be named as a personal care attorney, unless any of the below positions are family members, such as:
● Your landlord
● A home-care worker
● A social worker, counsellor, therapist, or teacher
● Your physician, nurse, or healthcare worker.
● A homemaker or personal assistant
It’s important to note that a personal care attorney can only make long-term health decisions on your behalf once a medical evaluation determines you are incapable of making these decisions on your own.
Power of Attorney for Property
When you appoint an attorney to manage your property, you are giving permission for that person to make decisions regarding your finances – which may include paying your bills, collecting money owed to you, selling your home or caring for it, and managing your investments and assets.
You are not required by law to appoint an attorney for a property – you may even choose a company to act on your behalf – but if no one is appointed, a family member may be able to step in and begin making decisions or apply to the courts be the guardian of your property. A close friend could also apply for the same rights. However, if no one steps forward and no one is appointed, the Government may appoint a guardian or trustee on your behalf.
Stewart Esten Law Firm – Estate Planning
Planning your will can give you peace of mind knowing that your appointed assets will be distributed properly and to those you care about when you’re gone. In addition, appointing a power of attorney to act on your behalf if you become incapable can help ensure all your affairs are in order and you’ll be taken care of when you need it most.
It is always better to discuss your estate plans with a lawyer so you can be sure your wishes are legally carried out. At Stewart Esten Law Firm, we can help you create a comprehensive will and estate plan that will protect both you and your loved ones. Contact us today to get started.