A Power of Attorney, or POA, is a legal document where you give authority to a trusted person, to act on your behalf (usually) in relation to property, financial or medical situations and assets if you become unable to handle them yourself. You leave instructions as to the conditions of POA. You may hear of an Enduring Power of Attorney, which is similar to a regular POA, except it will continue to be in effect throughout your lifetime and becomes invalid upon death. Minhas Lawyers can help you decide what type of POA will be most beneficial to your personal situation.
Seven Things You Need to Know About Power of Attorney
- Powerful Document: A power of attorney is known to be one of the most powerful legal documents, as it allows another person to act on your behalf for medical and financial matters and issues.
- Choose Someone You Trust: You need to trust the person you appoint as Power of Attorney. They could be handling your medical, business, and financial decisions. You need to know the person you appoint is honorable and can make good personal and financial decisions.
- Different Types: There are different Power of Attorney documents, just like there are different situations. You will need to know what you need to be covered and what needs to be accomplished for your situation. Some POAs are only used for healthcare situations; others are set up for property or finances. Time is also a factor for certain documents, as well as some that become invalid if you get incapacitated.
- Powers Cease at Death: At the moment of death, a Power of Attorney loses all power and authority. If the Power of Attorney continues to act after the person who appointed the POA is deceased, he or she does not have any legal authority. Often you will see people continuing to serve as POA after the person’s death, but they are just putting themselves at risk. A Will instead has control over who takes care of your estate only upon death, or the court will appoint someone.
- You Can Choose: Even though you pick a Power of Attorney, you still can act of your own free will. You have the right to make decisions on your own. Getting a power of attorney doesn’t take away your ability to act, it gives your chosen person the authority to act if you fall under any limitations you stated.
- It is Totally Amendable/Revocable: You can always amend or revoke a Power of Attorney. You need to be able to make legal decisions on your own, and then you can change your Power of Attorney document. You should consult with your attorney at any time you feel the POA document is not in line with your wishes.
- Pick One Person: Picking a group of people to be POAs can cause more trouble than you can imagine. If you decide on more than one person to be the Power of Attorney, you must make sure all people involved get along. They will be required to sign papers and make choices, so they must be able to cooperate. It is recommended to pick one person, with another as a backup.
At Minhas Lawyers, we will explain and guide you through the Power of Attorney process so you understand the document and are comfortable with your decision. Contact us today if you wish to discuss Power of Attorney further.
Minhas Lawyers Professional Corporation is a multi-practice law firm based in Mississauga. We advise and represent clients across various segments and practice areas.
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