3 Common Questions About Power of Attorney
Power of attorney is a vital element of estate planning. Without power of attorney, your family might have to go through the painful and costly process of committeeship where the court system becomes involved to make choices on your behalf. As experts in wills, estates, and trust law, the team at Linley Welwood knows how beneficial a power of attorney can be. That is why our team has compiled a list of 3 common questions about power of attorney to help you understand what it is, why it is important, and who can be appointed as an attorney.
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Common Questions Regarding Power of Attorney
The following questions are among the most common and important when discussing power of attorney:
1. What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to give legal authority to a trusted person for the purpose of managing your legal and financial affairs while you are still alive. The person you give this authority to is called Attorney. This means your attorney can enter contracts on your behalf (including contracts to buy and sell real estate), make financial decisions for you, and act on your behalf with the Canada Revenue Agency. All powers of attorney cease to be effective upon your death. From here, your will takes effect and your executor becomes the representative of your estate (if one was named).
2. Why is Power of Attorney Important?
While a power of attorney is something that many hope will never come into effect, it can protect your finances, health, and personal decisions if you were to become incapacitated. A power of attorney is like a form of disability insurance as it protects you while you are alive. With a power of attorney, your appointed individual (attorney) is responsible for making major decisions about your property, finances, personal life, medical care, and other elements. Without a power of attorney, your family will need to go through the arduous process of committeeship, making a difficult time even more stressful.
3. Who Can be Appointed as an Attorney?
Your attorney and representative should be someone you trust to act on your behalf and ensure your wishes are met. Many individuals will choose a spouse, family member, or a close friend, though the person chosen must be over the age of majority, which is 19 in BC. It is important to note that a person cannot act as an attorney if they provide healthcare to the grantor for compensation or provide residential, social, training, or support services to the grantor for compensation unless they are the grantor’s spouse, partner, or relative.
To learn more about power of attorney or other important areas of wills, estates, and trust law, get in touch with the team at Linley Welwood. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services or your case.