The Importance of Powers of Attorney to your Estate Plan
Kate M. Saldanha
Whether you’re young in age or young at heart, having an estate plan in place provides protection for yourself and your family. Powers of Attorney are an important but often overlooked part of an estate plan. Unlike your Will, which is used after your death, Powers of Attorney are used while you are alive but not capable of managing your own affairs.
There are two kinds of Powers of Attorney: the Power of Attorney for Property and the Power of Attorney for Personal Care.
Power of Attorney for Property
A Power of Attorney for Property allows you to appoint someone who you trust to make decisions related to your finances and other such “personal business”. A Power of Attorney for Property ensures that someone you trust can access funds as needed to provide for you and your family if you are not able to do so yourself.
If you own a home, it is especially important to have a Power of Attorney for Property. Your attorney under your Power of Attorney for Property is able to access money from your bank accounts in order to pay your bills, mortgage, and taxes. He or she is even able to sell your home if its carrying costs become unaffordable. Basically, your attorney steps into your shoes on financial matters. This means it is important to appoint someone you trust to ensure your bills are paid and your home is maintained.
Power of Attorney for Personal Care
A Power of Attorney for Personal Care, often referred to as a Living Will, allows a person of your choice to make care and medical decisions on your behalf. This includes the decision whether to consent to or withhold medical treatment. If you are mentally or physically incapable to consent to medical treatment, unless it is an emergency, someone else will have to provide it on your behalf. Signing a Power of Attorney for Personal Care gives your attorney legal authority to act on your behalf without delay or need for Court approval.
Powers of Attorney are important documents as they ensure decisions can be made and action can be taken on your behalf without delay. Your lawyer can assist you in developing an estate plan including the preparation of Powers of Attorney to make sure your family is protected according to your wishes.
Kate M. Saldanha is a lawyer at Prouse, Dash & Crouch, LLP in Brampton. Kate practices in the areas of Wills and Estates, Real Estate Law, and Business Law. She can be reached at 905-451-6610.
This information is a brief summary for information purposes only and is applicable only in the Province of Ontario. It is not intended to be legal advice. Full and complete legal advice can only be given by a lawyer who has detailed information about your individual circumstances.