Who would manage your financial affairs, and who would make decisions regarding your personal care?
Paying bills. Renewing insurance policies. Buying or selling investments. You probably complete actions like these all the time. But what would happen if you were unable to? If, for example, you suffered a brain aneurysm like Canadian music icon Joni Mitchell and were unable to communicate for days or even weeks? Who would manage your financial affairs, and who would make decisions regarding your personal care?
With a continuing power of attorney (known as a mandate in Quebec) you can appoint the person you want to act on your behalf. “Power of attorney” is the legal document and “attorney” refers to the person you appoint. You require separate documents for finances and health care unless you live in British Columbia or Quebec.
Without a power of attorney, a child or other individual would need to apply to the courts to act for you. That process takes time, and the choice of a representative may lead to family disputes.
Health care decisions
With a power of attorney for health care, you can decide who will make important medical choices for you. Housing decisions may be involved, too.
You can draft the document to explicitly outline your preferences regarding resuscitation and life support, leave the decision to one person, or establish restrictions on your attorney’s powers.
Please feel free to speak to your advisor or your lawyer for more information about power of attorney for finances or health.