A Power of Attorney is a legal instrument through which you give someone the ability to act as your agent or attorney and to manage your assets and legal affairs while you are still living. This individual can access your bank accounts, arrange investments, or sell your home and property. We need your names, addresses, and the names and addresses of the person you are naming as your attorney.
For example, if you develop Alzheimer’s and need to live in a care facility, the person you appoint as your Power of Attorney can sell your home to pay for your care. But even if you are healthy, a Power of Attorney is useful. If you spend significant time in warmer climates during the winter, you may need someone in Canada who can manage your assets in your absence.
If you do not have a Power of Attorney and you become mentally incompetent to manage your own affairs, an expensive court application will be required to appoint someone to manage your assets and sell property bearing your name on the title.
Often married couples appoint each other to be their Power of Attorney, but it’s wise to appoint a trusted child or a friend as a backup so that if both parents become incompetent, there is still someone available to handle the finances.
Most Enduring Power of Attorneys are effective immediately and can be used at any time before and after you become mentally incompetent. While it is possible to draft a springing Power of Attorney that only comes into force when you become mentally incompetent, these cannot be used if you are out of town or immobile.