power of attorney
What is a power of attorney?
If you lose your mental capacity to make decisions for yourself there is no law that automatically appoints someone to do so on your behalf.
A Power of Attorney is a document which sets out who you wish to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself or if you were to ever lose your mental capacity.
This means that there is no default even if you have a living spouse, children or parents and your family would need to hire a lawyer to commence legal proceedings to the Court to be appointed to make your financial and medical decisions if you do not have a Power of Attorney document. If you were in the hospital and did not have the mental capacity to make decisions, this could result in you be admitted for longer than required while your family underwent this process. The stress and cost of this process is much higher than having a Power of Attorney created now.
Powers of Attorney are signed with a lawyer. As Powers of Attorney take effect the moment the document is signed, TANDEM Family Law can hold this document in our fireproof safe for safekeeping. TANDEM Family Law will hold the documents until we have received a doctor’s opinion that you no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself or unless you instruct us otherwise.
what is a financial power Of attorney?
A Financial Power of Attorney appoints someone to make decisions relating to your property and finances on your behalf. A Financial Power of Attorney will have the authority to do things like selling your house, being able to deposit or withdraw money from your bank account, making payments on bills and any other documents that requires your personal signature.
WHAT IS A MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY?
A Medical Power of Attorney is a document which appoints someone to make medical decisions for you if you are no longer competent to make your own decisions or are unable to consent to necessary medical treatment.
A Medical Power of Attorney gives a person authority to make medical decisions on your behalf that can affect your health, well-being and personal needs. For example: whether you remain on life support, if you should be placed in a nursing home, which medical treatments are best for you and which medical or surgical procedures are best.
HOW TO choosE who to appoint?
A Power of Attorney should appoint at least two people - your first choice and an alternate. The people appointed must be mentally competent themselves and at least 19 years of age.
You should choose a person you trust to make financial and personal care choices and should consider the person’s ability to understand and make financial and/or medical decisions.
You should also consider the residence of the person you wish to appoint. If they live a long distance away it will be more difficult for them to act, especially for a Medical Power of Attorney as they should visit you and talk with your medical professionals on a regular basis.
You can choose to appoint two people to act together however they must make all decisions together and both people will be required to sign all documents. You can also choose for one person to act as your Medical Power of Attorney and a different person to act as your Financial Power of Attorney.
WHAT IF I DO NOT HAVE SOMEONE TO ACT AS POWER OF ATTORNEY ON MY BEHALF?
If you do not have someone willing or available to act as your Power of Attorney on your behalf, the Public Trustee can be appointed to act as your Power of Attorney. In such case, it is highly recommended that you contact the Public Trustee beforehand and inform yourself on the process to become eligible, how to proceed and know the fees for their service.
WHAT IS A TEMPORARY POWER OF ATTORNEY?
A temporary Power of Attorney is sometimes created in cases where the person will be away from home when an important financial transaction is occurring. A limited Power of Attorney would allow someone to only do a specific action on your behalf. For example, during the purchase or sale of a house.