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Wills and Estates

Power of Attorneys – Personal and Property Care.

What is a Power of Attorney?:

A Power of Attorney (the “Attorney”) is a legal document whereby the grantor, the person authorizing the power), authorizes another individual the powers to take action and make decisions on their behalf in the event of incapacitation, or situations where the grantor may not be available for extended periods of time. The substituted person steps into the shoes of the grantor as if they themselves were the person authorizing the action. A power of attorney, however, cannot make a will on behalf of the grantor.

Powers of Attorney are only effective during the lifetime of the grantor and are independent from the provisions of their will. Please read our primer on wills to differentiate the power of attorneys and wills. A power of attorney is sometimes referred to a living will. The grantor must be mentally cognizant.

There are several types of power attorneys. Common examples are non-continuing or continuing power of attorney for property. Another example is power of attorney for personal.

 1. Non-Continuing Power Of Attorney For Property

A non-continuing or continuing power of attorney for property is when the grantor provides his or her designated attorney a limited power of attorney to act on the grantor’s behalf for a specific situation and for a specific time limit. A simple example would be where the grantor gives the designated attorney the power to sell the grantor’s home because the grantor is away for an extended period of time and unable to execute documents at a specific time.

 2. Continuing Power Of Attorney For Property

A continuing power of attorney authorizes the grantor’s attorney to represent the grantor’s interests in financial and property matters. Generally, such powers are provided to another person in the event that the grantor becomes mentally incapable or is unable to act. The powers granted maybe limited, but in most circumstances, the grantor will grant a general power of authorization to the attorney to act on their behalf.

For example, you can authorize your sister to conduct banking transactions, pay bills or collect rent cheques from your tenants.

3. Power of attorney for personal care

The designated attorney has the authority to make personal decisions on behalf of the grantor regarding the grantor’s health and medical treatment in the event he or she becomes mentally incapacitated or are unable to manage health affairs. Most individuals will appoint a close family member for the purposes of making health decisions. For example, most people do not want to be placed under a ventilator and will appoint the family member to ensure that the person’s wishes are complied.

Power of attorneys are important to have in the event that you become incapacitated. Once you are incapacitated, it does become more challenging to enter into a power of attorney. Every person should have a power of attorney. There are certain legal requirements that need to be met before a power of attorney can be effective. To learn more about power of attorneys click here.