A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants another individual (your attorney) the right to act on your behalf (grantor or principal) and manage your affairs. The attorney is responsible for executing decisions on behalf of the grantor’s personal, financial, estate and legal matters. Hence, appointing the right person who does not misuse the powers assigned to him by the grantor is crucial.
In Canada, POAs are usually classified in two different ways: General and Enduring. A general power of attorney exists for a specific period of time and is only applicable when the grantor is mentally capable of making his own choices, giving the attorney limited decision-making powers. An enduring or continuing power of attorney authorizes the attorney complete authority to make on grantor’s behalf in the case he becomes mentally incapable or any other conditions mentioned in the POA.
Below is a comprehensive list of benefits which highlight the importance of having a power of attorney:
Assigning an enduring POA can be a practical way to manage your estate and other resources. It can prove essentially useful under the event of a short term illness when you may not be able to handle your estate affairs in therir entirety. In these cases, your attorney becomes responsible for dealing with your pending affairs. In the cases where you are rendered completely mentally incapable of managing your own affairs, your attorney has the authority to take legal, financial or estate related decisions on your behalf. Thus, it is a practical decision to appoint a power of attorney. To make sure you choose the right attorney, it is important to hire an experienced lawyer. A skilled lawyer not only ensures the credibility of your attorney but also makes sure the POA is notarised correctly.
Your agent or attorney is bound by law to account for the expenditure and the management of your capital and other assets. Every major decision has to be approved by the grantor and requires his final assent. In the cases the agent misuses or takes advantages of this power or fails to carry out the responsibilities and duties assigned to him, he faces the threat of extensive litigation. This is because, in case you appoint an attorney and his intentions turn out to be fraudulent, the power of attorney can be utilized as an evidence in the court of law.
While appointing a power of attorney, it is important to choose agents that you can trust completely. This is because assigning a POA gives you the complete freedom to be flexible. You can appoint a single attorney or more than one attorneys. You can appoint alternate or successive attorneys. You can direct your attorneys to make decisions together or jointly or you can command them to act separately in case one of them is unavailable.
Life is unpredictable and circumstances are unforeseeable. In order to ensure your peace of mind and the safety of your family and assets, it is necessary that you take precautionary measures. The appointment of an agent or attorney ensures that in case something happens to you, in the late or near future, you have a trusted person in the form of a POA to carry out your wishes as and when the need arises.
Assigning a POA can be a complex legal process. To further understand the importance of having a power of attorney and the procedure involved for assigning one, book a consultation with our legal experts today.