What is a “Power of Attorney” ?


A power of attorney is a legal document authorizing an agent to act on someones behalf.  By signing a power of attorney while capable, the grantor is able to have his or her own choice as to an attorney to act on his or her behalf in the event of incapacity or where the grantor, while capable, is simply unavailable when important decisions must be made or actions taken on a timely basis.

Broadly speaking, powers of attorney are governed by the common law of agency. An agency relationship is established where one person authorizes another person to act as his or her agent.

Without a power of attorney in place at the time of incapacity, the process of installing a substitute decision-maker is more time consuming and more costly. And, of course, the identity of the person ultimately placed in that role cannot be known in advance.

The attorney appointed by a power of attorney acts as a fiduciary and, as such, must account, must act with reasonable care, must not act in conflict with the grantor’s interests, and must not make secret profits.

Why should you have a power of attorney? If you ever become mentally incapable of making decisions on your own behalf, someone who you have appointed via power of attorney can make them for you.  Eg. Decisions regarding medical treatment and care. A power of attorney for personal care appoints a person or persons to make decisions for the grantor respecting the grantor’s “personal care.” The term “personal care” encompasses health care, nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and safety. The power of attorney for personal care may address any one or more of these elements of personal care.

A power of attorney for property grants your attorney the power to do anything that you could lawfully do with your property in the event that you are unable to attend to said matters yourself.

So long as the grantor retains capacity, he or she can revoke the appointment of an attorney and appoint a new attorney to act.

Great caution must be taken when selecting your attorney.  For more information please contact us www.ontariolawyer.com .

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