A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to set out who can make decisions and act on your behalf in the event that you become incapable of making decisions for yourself.
Powers of attorney are often put in place at the time that your will is drafted. For more information on making a will, click here. Generally, powers of attorney deal with who can handle your property and your personal care decisions prior to your death if you become incapable of making those decisions, while a will deals with what will happen to your property after your death.
There are two different types of powers of attorney: a Power of Attorney for Property, and a Power of Attorney for Personal Care. To read more on Powers of Attorney for Property, click here. Powers of Attorney for Personal Care will be the topic of this article.
It is always a good idea to consider putting a Power of Attorney for Personal Care in place because this will allow you to determine who will be in charge of making personal care decisions if you become mentally incapable of doing so. This person is called your “substitute decision maker”.
Generally, the Power of Attorney for Personal Care will set out who can make decisions with respect to your personal care. This includes decisions related to health care, medical treatment, nutrition, shelter, admission to a long term care facility, personal assistance services, clothing, hygiene and safety. If you express wishes about your personal care prior to becoming incapable, your attorney must follow these wishes. If your attorney does not know of any wishes, or you did not give any, they must make decisions if you are not able to do so yourself.
Having a Power of Attorney for Personal Care in place can give you the peace of mind that only those people that you choose to name as your Attorney in a Power of Attorney for Personal Care shall have the authority to make personal care decisions in the event that you become incapable of making such decisions for yourself.
It is always a good idea to give some thought to who you would want in charge of making decisions on your behalf regarding your personal care in the event that you aren’t able to make those decisions, and to document it in a Power of Attorney for Personal Care.
It is advisable to have powers of attorney in place as early as possible. Life is unpredictable and it is in your best interest to be prepared for all circumstances.
Prepared by Lerners LLP (www.Lerners.ca)
This is a brief overview and is not intended to be relied on as legal advice.
Please contact Jennifer Stevenson at 519.640.6312 or Katherine Serniwka at 519.640.6393
for further information. Not to be reproduced without permission of Lerners LLP