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Enduring Power of Attorney


Many people think that if they can’t make decisions for themselves, their family can do it. This isn’t necessarily true.

If you have an accident or become ill, you may not legally be able to make decisions. By preparing an enduring power of attorney now, you can make sure that your property and your finances will be managed by someone you trust.

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you choose someone, usually a family member or trusted friend, to make financial decisions for you. This person is called your attorney (although this word is often used to describe a lawyer, it has a different meaning here).

Depending on how your enduring power of attorney is written, there are two options:

Your attorney starts making decisions immediately. You and your attorney have control over the money – you can both write cheques, sign documents, etc. If, in the future, you can’t make decisions because you are ill or injured, your attorney takes over – they make the decisions.

OR

Your attorney doesn’t make financial decisions for you until, sometime in the future, you can’t make decisions because you are ill or injured. If you get better, you can take back the power to make your own decisions. The money is still yours and your attorney has to keep clear records of financial transactions.

Attorneys make decisions about financial matters. They can:

  • sign cheques on your account

  • manage your investments

  • sell real estate

  • apply for financial benefits for you, such as Old Age Security

They do not make personal decisions, like medical treatment, where you live, etc. For that, you need a personal directive.

When you lose the capacity to make decisions, it must be confirmed with an assessment completed by medical practitioners. In general, a capacity assessment looks at whether you can understand:

  • the facts you should consider when making a decision

  • what could happen if you choose one option over another

Just because someone disagrees with a decision you make, it doesn’t mean you have lost the ability to make your own decisions. If you fully understand the impact of a decision, you’re probably capable of making it.

If you have questions about preparing your own Enduring Power of Attorney, or acting as an Attorney on behalf of someone else please feel free to contact the Summit Legal Group office. Tel: 587-356-0356 or Email: info@summitlegalgroup.ca

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