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What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document whereby you appoint someone to act on your behalf on financial and legal matters. The person who is appointed to act in this role is called an “attorney”, but should not be confused with a lawyer.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney specifically allows for the Power of Attorney to continue to be in effect after the individual becomes incapable of handling their affairs. This means that instead of the Power of Attorney ending at the point the person is unable to manage his or her affairs, it continues even after the incapacity.
How do I create an Enduring Power of Attorney?
A person who wishes to make (i.e. appointing someone to be an attorney) an Enduring Power of Attorney must be an adult. In B.C. this means that the person must have reached the age of majority.
At the time of signing of the Enduring Power of Attorney, that person must be of sound mind and must not be pressured or coerced into signing the Enduring Power of Attorney.
It is important to note that the Enduring Power of Attorney should clearly provide whether the attorney can exercise authority while the person is still capable, or if that authority can only be exercised when the person is incapable of handling their affairs.
What is a Springing Power of Attorney?
A Springing Power of Attorney is a particular form of Enduring Power of Attorney which depends on the occurrence of certain events in order to be brought into effect. An example of this could be where a physician signs a statutory declaration in which they certify that the person is incapable of making decisions about their financial affairs. In this instance, the Power of Attorney will only commence when that declaration is made.
Sometimes, a person will not want their attorney to be given the power to act straight away. It is in these situations that a Springing Power of Attorney is usually created.
Are there any drawbacks to a Springing Power of Attorney?
There are, unfortunately, some drawbacks associated with a Springing Power of Attorney. It can occasionally take longer than desirable to get the required declaration from a physician, which may lead to additional expense. Consequently, there may be a period of time where affairs are being managed without any assistance. This is not helpful to the individual’s financial situation.
In addition, there are some medical conditions, such as dementia for example, which happen slowly. The individual may still require someone to assist them in looking after their affairs even though a physician may have declared them to be capable. In such circumstances, the Springing Power of Attorney would not be of assistance
Why is it important to have an Enduring Power of Attorney?
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being unable to look after your affairs because of physical injury or mental incapacity, the fact that you have appointed a person you trust to look after your affairs on your behalf will become very important. This is where the simplicity of an Enduring Power of Attorney is fully appreciated. It is also inexpensive, and is an essential element of an estate plan. Activities such as paying your bills, withdrawing funds from your account, dealing with legal matters, dealing with property, etc. would be handled by your attorney.
If you do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney, it will fall to a member of your family to make a court application in order to be appointed to look after your affairs. The downside to this is the time it may take, as well as the possibility of incurring financial loss, in addition to the thousands of dollars it is likely to cost to make the court application.
Who can I appoint as my attorney?
The person appointed as your attorney in an Enduring Power of Attorney must be a person you trust. He or she must be an adult and be capable of being an attorney. In an Enduring Power of Attorney, you could, for example, appoint a family member, trusted friend, lawyer or trust company as your attorney.
Can I have more than one attorney?
In an Enduring Power of Attorney, you can have more than one attorney. You can appoint one person as an attorney, and another person as an alternate attorney should the first attorney be unwilling or unable for whatever reason to act in that role.
If you wish you can also appoint more than one person as your attorney. It can then be stated whether decisions can be made on either an individual or unanimous basis.
Who can witness an Enduring Power of Attorney?
Generally, the signing of Enduring Power of Attorney requires two witnesses. If one of the witnesses is a lawyer or notary public, then only one witness is required.
It should be noted that if you want the Enduring Power of Attorney to deal with real estate you must then have it witnessed by a lawyer or notary public to meet the Land Title Office requirements.
Why use Onion Legal to help with creating your Power of Attorney?
Onion Legal’s Power of Attorney has been thoroughly reviewed by B.C lawyers to ensure that it meets with the strict requirements of the laws of British Columbia. By filling out our simple questionnaire you will create a comprehensive Power of Attorney that we are confident will surpass your expectations and more importantly give you the peace of mind you are looking for.
What does Onion Legal’s carefully drafted Power of Attorney contain?
Onion Legal’s Power of Attorney contains clauses dealing with the following issues:
- Appointment of an attorney;
- Powers of an attorney; and
- When your power of attorney becomes effective.
How do I commence the process of creating my Power of Attorney?
Simply purchase our Power of Attorney and fill out a simple questionnaire. When you submit your questionnaire, your Power of Attorney will be assembled and emailed to you. All you have to do is to follow our easy guide on signing your Power of Attorney.