As of July 2022, around one in five Canadians were 65 or older, and this number is expected to continue growing.
As we age, we become more likely to consider how to protect ourselves in the case of illness, disability, and other incapacitating conditions. That's where power of attorney comes into play.
If you've ever wondered, "What is power of attorney, and do I need one?" we've prepared a quick guide to help you understand the importance of this essential document. Here's what you should know:
What Is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows someone else to make decisions on your behalf. This can include financial, legal, and personal decisions.
In Canada, the person you choose is often called an "attorney," but this does not mean they must have legal expertise. They may also be called an "agent" or "representative."
Why Do You Need a Power of Attorney?
Like other estate planning documents, having a POA is generally a good idea for most adults. Creating a POA makes it easier for someone you trust to act on your behalf when you need assistance the most.
While it is common among aging individuals, as it allows a loved one to step in and help manage finances, and legal decisions during a health crisis, a POA is also useful in various other situations, regardless of age.
In addition to other financial and legal recommendations, if you're an ex-pat, having a POA enables your chosen attorney to handle your affairs in Canada while you're away. Additionally, a POA also helps in the case that you are mentally or physically incapacitated.
What your POA can do depends on the POA forms you use. These forms can allow them to perform tasks like filing taxes, banking transactions, and selling property on your behalf.
What Are the Advantages?
There are several advantages to having a POA, which will vary depending on the type and scope of authority you grant your attorney.
The discussions regarding creating a POA can be helpful for you and your family. They are good opportunities to talk about your future expectations and goals, ensuring that you and your loved ones are on the same page. Your POA documents also help clarify your intentions.
Once created, a POA ensures that someone you trust will make decisions for you if you become incapacitated or severely disabled. This prevents disputes among loved ones and delays critical decisions for your financial and legal choices. Furthermore, having a POA also means your loved ones won't need to go to court and seek guardianship to manage your affairs.
Above all, a POA can bring peace of mind to both you and your loved ones. No matter where you are in life, these crucial documents ensure that there will be less red tape as your chosen attorney cares for you.
Ensure Your Peace of Mind
It's impossible to predict what will happen in the future, but learning how to get power of attorney and finding an attorney you trust can be helpful.
Ar Paquette & Paquette, we are happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to learn more about power of attorney.