Having an Enduring Power of Attorney is an important part of estate planning. An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to handle your financial and legal affairs when you are incapable. The authority continues beyond when you lose capacity and up until the moment of death.
Most people don’t realize how important this document is. Your appointed attorney can pay your bills for you, reorganize any financial affairs, and deal with your land on your behalf when you are unable to. Unfortunately, illness can happen at any age. When you are no longer capable due to mental infirmity, it is too late to appoint an attorney.
One client asked me to draft a power of attorney for her son who had been in an accident and suffered brain damage. She wanted to sell his apartment in order to fund his care. However, since she did not have an Enduring Power of Attorney for her son (and he was in a coma and unable to consent to the appointment), I could not prepare the document. Her only choice was to go through an expensive court process called a committeeship.
You can appoint anyone as your attorney, so long as they meet the requirements under the Power of Attorney Act. Many people choose a trusted family member or members. The legislation also has safeguards in effect so that the attorney’s power cannot be abused. You may require your attorney to provide proof of your incapability before acting on your behalf.
The cost of drafting an Enduring Power of Attorney is relatively insignificant when compared with the alternative. Be sure to keep your original Power of Attorney document in a secure, fireproof location that your attorney has access to. Questions about drafting a Power of Attorney should be directed to a lawyer or notary public.
Odina Skovgaard is a Notary Public practicing in Peachland, BC and the owner of Odina Skovgaard Notary Public. She holds a bachelor's degree in criminology and a master's degree in applied legal studies, both from Simon Fraser University.