Powers of attorney are used in various contexts throughout the Canadian legal system as limited grants of authorization to act on another’s behalf in connection with a specific private, legal or business matter. An Enduring Power of Attorney differs from an immediate power of attorney because it doesn’t take effect until the grantor loses mental capacity, at which time the attorney will handle the grantor’s legal, financial and personal affairs.
By granting an enduring power of attorney, a person helps ensure that their property, business, and finances will be handled by someone they deem competent and trustworthy should they lose mental capacity at some point. The person who handles the affairs of the grantor under an enduring power of attorney is called the “attorney.” While an attorney may be a lawyer, in most cases a trusted family member or friend fulfills the role. The grantor of an enduring power of attorney may appoint any individual with capacity who is over the age of 18 as their attorney.
We recommend creating an enduring power of attorney at the time you draft your will as it will provide peace-of-mind and assurance that someone you trust will handle your financial affairs once you are no longer able to. Should you lose capacity without an enduring power of attorney in place, your family members may incur significant legal costs and hassle in getting authorization to deal with your affairs and finances.
One of the challenges of creating an enduring power of attorney is appointing an attorney who won’t squander or mismanage your finances. Another thing to keep in mind is that choosing multiple attorneys may create infighting as to how your affairs are managed.
There are many factors to consider when drafting an enduring power of attorney. An experienced Wills & Estates lawyer can assist you in working through the nuances and help you draft an enduring power of attorney that best suits your circumstances.