When the concept of power of attorney was first introduced, the powers that were granted to the attorney ended once the grantor became mentally incapable. However, current legislation, pertaining to either power of attorney documents, allows the appointed individual to continue handling the grantor's affairs.
At Red Booth Law, part of your estate planning procedure includes a personally drafted Power of Attorney for Property and a Power of Attorney for Personal Care. These documents are exactly as they sound, it allows a competent individual ("you") to grant power over your assets to another competent person of their choosing ("the attorney"). Please note, this is simply a label provided to the person you wish to appoint and you are not appointing a lawyer. Lastly, once you pass away, the power of attorney's responsibilities and duties are terminated and both power of attorney documents cease to exist.
Power of Attorney for Property
Should you become incompetent to manage your own affairs and you do not have a Power of Attorney for Property, the Public Guardian and Trustee automatically assumes all authority to control of your assets. The Public Guardian and Trustee is a government body, appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, that manages your financial affairs by making all financial decisions and transactions. Without your consent and on your behalf, the Public Guardian and Trustee may invest your money and sell your property.
Keep note, the individual you choose to be appointed as your Power of Attorney for Property must be at least 18 years of age. For a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, the individual must be at least 16 years old.
Within the Province of Ontario, a Power of Attorney for Property is a written document signed by you and two witnesses who are at least 18 years of age and of sound mind, which we provide. When you are choosing who to appoint as your attorney, we always recommend that the individual be willing to assume the role of the attorney. This written document gives your chosen attorney the power over your assets in whatever way is desired, so long as its decision is in your best interest. Due to the fact that we carefully listen to every detail you provide and personally draft all of our documents without the use of any templates, we can implement specific instructions over your assets, should you request this. For example, if you are a "snowbird" or travel a lot, we can draft your documents to appoint an attorney to make transactions on your behalf, such as a sale or purchase of an item. Even where you want this restriction allocated to a very specific transaction, we, at Red Booth Law, draft this with ease.
Something else you should keep in mind, where the Power of Attorney for Property does not indicate specific situations for when it is to become effective, for instance becoming legally incapacitated, the individual you appoint will be deemed to be your attorney from the moment you execute the document. Essentially, that named attorney has immediate power. At Red Booth Law, we provide you the option and allow you to choose when your Power of Attorney for Property is to become effective.
Markham Stouffville Hospital - 381 Church Street, Markham, Ontario, L3P 7P3
Power of Attorney for Personal Care
A Power of Attorney for Personal Care is a written instrument signed by you and two witnesses, which we provide, and can only become effective once you lack mental capacity. At this point your attorney under a Power of Attorney for Personal Care is granted the power to make treatment decisions related to health care, nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene or safety. Unlike a Continuing Power of Attorney for Property, your appointed attorney can make any of the said decisions based on "reasonable grounds" without the need of having a medical assessment satisfied.
Once again, at Red Booth Law, we can implement certain conditions within the Power of Attorney for Personal Care, such as the confirmation of incapacity to be required or consulting with specific family members to determine your wishes, before the appointed attorney is allowed to make any treatment decisions.
To us, your Power of Attorney for Property and Power of Attorney for Personal Care are equally as important as your Will. We take extreme care to effectively plan your estate and personally draft each of your testamentary instruments. We avoid the use of any template, as no two family dynamics are exactly the same. If you are in need of your Powers of Attorney, feel free to contact us.