POA (Power of Attorney) documents
As mentioned on page 40 of the WISH Workbook*, Powers of Attorney (POA) documents are very important documents for anyone to have completed. POAs are directives that allow the people you mention in them (your 'attorneys') to be allowed to look after your care and property, if you are unable to. POAs are no longer needed when you pass away – this is when your Will and Executor take over.
If something should happen to you (an accident or an illness such as a stroke or heart attack, for example) and you don't have your affairs in order, such as POAs prepared, other arrangements will have to be made on your behalf. Depending upon your place of residence, some provinces/territories have all of these POAs prepared as one long document, or they may be separated into two documents.
Power of Attorney for Personal Care - These forms are important, as the individual you name your POA for Care will be able to make decisions about your health care, accommodation, and other aspects of your personal life (such as meals, bathing, etc.), should you become ill and/or mentally incapable of making these decisions yourself.
Power of Attorney for Property - The person(s) you name as your POA for Property will be able to make decisions about your financial affairs if you're unable to – such as pay your bills, collect money you're owed, maintain or sell your home if it's necessary, or manage your investments. It's important to mention that your POA for Property will be able to access your finances as soon as the document is signed, so be diligent to select a person with the utmost trust, and to complete these documents carefully, noting any objections or specific details.
POA forms can be downloaded for free, printed, and completed by yourself. If your personal circumstances are complicated – such as if there are many dependents who rely on you, no family at all, or you own much property or have a lot of funds in savings/investments for example, it's advisable to consult with an Estate lawyer to assist in the preparation of POAs. These documents have to be very carefully filled out, signed, and witnesses, otherwise they may be challenged and/or rendered null and void.
POAs may be downloaded through the following websites:
ONTARIO - CLICK HERE
BRITISH COLUMBIA - CLICK HERE
ALBERTA - CLICK HERE
SASKATCHEWAN - CLICK HERE
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND - CLICK HERE
QUÉBEC - CLICK HERE for information
NOVA SCOTIA - CLICK HERE
NORTHWEST TERRITORIES - CLICK HERE
MANITOBA - CLICK HERE
NEW BRUNSWICK - CLICK HERE
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR - CLICK HERE