A Power of Attorney in BC is a legal document that grants one or more people the authority to manage your property and financial affairs. A Power of Attorney can take effect as soon as the document is signed, or there can be contingencies put in place wherein your Attorney begins acting once those contingencies have been met.
We’ve highlighted a few key facts about Powers of Attorney so you can better understand the legal effect of the document.
BC Power of Attorney: Why Should You Have One?
There are several reasons why it is a good idea to have a Power of Attorney, the most prominent being the fact that you get to choose someone who you trust to help protect your property and financial affairs. If you do not have a Power of Attorney in place and you lose capacity, someone who you would not have chosen may apply to court to be confirmed as the person to make your property and financial decisions.
What to Consider When Appointing an Attorney
When it comes to naming someone as an Attorney, there are a few key things that you should keep in mind. It’s important to carefully consider who you want to choose as your Attorney, as they will have considerable power over your finances and will hold significant responsibilities. When acting as your Attorney, they must put your best interests over their own. This person (or people) should be good at handling money, must be over the age of 19 (in BC), and should be willing to act as your attorney. They must act in good faith and exercise the care, diligence and skill of a reasonably prudent person. Make sure you take the time to speak to your attorney about your wishes to help avoid any confusion or conflict down the line. In most cases, a family member or friend is appointed as an Attorney, however it is also possible to appoint a trust company.
Each province in Canada has its own Power of Attorney legislation with specific requirements. For example, in BC, before the person appointed as Attorney may act, they need to sign the Enduring Power of Attorney in front of two witnesses. However, in Alberta, it is not necessary for the Attorney to sign onto an Enduring Power of Attorney.
What can an Attorney do?
Some of the decisions an Attorney can make include:
- Doing day-to-day banking,
- Buying or selling real estate on your behalf,
- Borrowing money on your behalf,
- Signing cheques on your behalf, and
- Additional responsibilities listed in the Power of Attorney document.
An Attorney is not allowed to make a will for the adult for whom they are acting and may not do anything that is prohibited by law.
Ensuring that you have named an Attorney is a great way to ensure that you will have your personal affairs looked after by someone you trust should you lose the capacity to make financial decisions yourself.
Do you have questions regarding the process of appointing a Power of Attorney? We can help! Contact us today to speak to our lawyer.