Power of Attorney:  What it is and Why You Want one

The power of attorney is a legal document which grants someone the power to handle your legal, financial, or personal affairs.  It can be created to fit many different situations.  Consequently, there are a variety of things to consider before making one, such as when you want it to take effect, how long it should last, what responsibilities it should cover, who should accept those responsibilities, and what the cost of those responsibilities will be. 

When should the it take effect?

They can start immediately when the document is signed or they can be written so that they start only in specific situations.  For example, you may want to appoint someone as a power of attorney so that if you become seriously ill, you would have someone to make financial decisions on your behalf.

How long should a power of attorney last? 

They can be written for any duration, ranging from short term to indefinite.  For example, you might want to appoint a family member so they can represent you in a real estate deal.  Such a grant ends once the deal is completed. 

An enduring appointment is intended for use in more permanent situations, such as expected deterioration due to dementia.  As a result, they do not end on their own; they must be terminated.  

What responsibilities should it include?

Powers of attorney can transfer responsibilities that are wide or limited in scope.  You could, for example, decide to grant someone the power to represent you in a single real estate deal or to manage your entire investment portfolio.

Who should be granted one? 

They can give responsibilities to a single person, multiple people, or even a corporation. 

When deciding whom to choose as a representative there are many important things to consider.  The person who accepts responsibility must be financially secure, reliable, and able to assume the responsibility.  There are also some limitations on who may be granted one.  For example, a child may not be granted one.

Costs of being someone’s attorney

If you have been asked to act as someone’s attorney, you should carefully consider whether or not you want to accept the responsibility.  It is better to say “no” if you don't think you can do the job, because if you use it carelessly or in bad faith, you may be held responsible for the grantor’s loss.

Medical Concerns 

If you are concerned that you may become mentally incapacitated, it is important that you make one sooner rather than later, as you may not be mentally capable of creating one later. 

It is important to note that a power of attorney is not used for the delegation of medical decisions.  For that, a representation agreement is used. 

If you require assistance with, or advice on, creating, revoking, or managing a power of attorney, one of our lawyers at Hemminger Law Group can help.

This article was written in all its fabulousness by Chris Dawson during his articling term at Hemminger Law Group. Sorry Chris, we realize that articling is difficult enough and that we did not quite tell you in advance that on top of everything else you had to do around here that you would be expected to write articles for our website too!

If you wish to speak to a lawyer appointing someone as your attorney, contact us at Hemminger Law Group

You can also find more information on the BC Government's website.

Return from Power of Attorney

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At Hemminger Law Group we commit to providing you with the highest quality legal information on this website. However, nothing on this website should be construed as actual legal advice. Every case is different and it is important that you consult a lawyer before making any decisions with respect to a legal matter.

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