A serious accident or debilitating stroke and suddenly you are unable to pay your bills or manage any money at all. What would your spouse or family do if, overnight, you became incapable of handling your finances?
Without power of attorney for property (POA), your loved ones have little recourse but to apply for and obtain a guardian of property order. Your autonomy is at stake when you delay making a POA, with or without a Will.
Axess Law’s Will and power of attorney lawyers (Ontario) draft legal documents that ensure you’re in charge of decisions about who is appointed to act on your behalf. Only you can make a POA — and you can make it continuing, so your “attorney” represents you even when you are no longer able to provide clear directions about your financial wishes.
When You Have No POA
When you can no longer understand information about your finances or appreciate how decisions or a failure to act affects your assets, a court may find you mentally incapable. If that happens without any planning ahead on your part, you could be subject to a guardian of property order.
Your family may be well meaning, but without either power of attorney or guardianship (Ontario) status, they have no legal authority to act for you in financial decisions.
Valuable time is lost when family or friends have to ask for an Ontario court’s permission to represent you. (Getting power of attorney for a parent with dementia in Ontario.)
Only the court or the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) can make or overturn a guardian of property appointment. Who would pay bills like your mortgage, rent or credit card debts until then?
Why Leave Finances to Chance?
Without a POA, you leave your personal finances to the whims of a court or the OPGT. You suffer a ‘civil death’. Your finances belong to you, but control is just beyond your reach.
Without any input on your part, someone you would not have desired or trusted could be appointed to represent you to your bank, creditors or financial advisors. As long as they can convince a judge they will manage your finances fairly, honestly and without a conflict of interest, anyone could step up on your behalf.
Single people or family members estranged from parents, siblings or relatives are especially at risk of having the OPGT appointed. Having strangers in charge of your financial affairs may not be what you wanted to happen and that’s why Axess Law recommends making a POA for property.
If you rely on OAS, CPP or Ontario Disability Support for your only income, ask us about other options you may not have considered, like making family or friends your trustee.
Substituting Guardianship for a POA
Ensuring your financial safety is the court’s priority.
If your “attorney” is exploiting you or failing to manage your money prudently, a court could rescind your POA and appoint a guardian instead. Having joint attorneys or a substitute attorney in your POA can avoid these unforeseen outcomes. Allowing joint attorneys to act individually or having an alternate attorney ensures you have options if questions arise about how your finances are being managed.
When you are no longer in charge of your finances, you hope whoever represents you does a capable job. You saved hard to get where you are and you want your money to go as far as possible and be used prudently, in a way that ensures you have a good life.
Court-appointed guardians are competent, but they lack the personal caring and compassion family, friends or trusted, long-term advisors can bring to your property interests. Think what it would be like to have every aspect of your financial life, except your Will, managed by someone you do not know:
- bank accounts
- pensions, RRSPs and RRIFs
- insurance benefits
- investments or income properties
- debts you owe
- personal belongings
- your home or vehicles
- your safety deposit box.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Axess Law’s lawyers for Wills can make a proactive power of attorney for property when they draft your Will. We have power of attorney lawyers near you in Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa for in person legal services. Remote video conference calls can be arranged anywhere in Ontario, day or evening, at your convenience.
Our POA professionals can refer you to trusted legal partners for advice if your application is being disputed in court or you are challenging a family members’ authority to take over someone’s affairs using a guardian of property order.
Making a guardianship application in Ontario is a serious step. You may find having the OPGT handle your family members’ finances is costing more than you expected or that you disagree with their decisions. Our legal partners are guardianship lawyers and can assist you to apply for statutory guardianship to act on your family members’ behalf instead.
Older or vulnerable adults can be exploited by financial predators or loved ones they trusted to manage day-to-day property decisions. Family lawyers we refer you to can advise what to do if you are worried someone you know is being unduly influenced or coerced.
Save When You Draft a Will and POA
Axess Law has Will and power of attorney lawyers near you. We prepare continuing powers of attorney for property and personal care at the same time as we draft your virtual personal Will. (See how virtual notary services work.) You pay just $249.99 and up plus HST for virtual legal services or $299.99 plus HST to meet in person.
Make a POA for property without a Will for only $69.99 or get both a continuing POA for property and personal care for $99.99. Our Wills and estates lawyers can draft your personal Will later, whenever you desire, for the low flat fee of $199.99 plus HST or $149.99 each plus HST for couples who make their Wills together.
Easy Online Bookings 7 Days a Week
Access law services day or evening, 7 days a week, with our remote, virtual legal services anywhere in Ontario. We can meet you in person at any Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa Axess Law location. Parking is available onsite and transit services are nearby.
Use our online booking form to make your appointment — it’s quick and easy. Or call toll ahead, free to 1-877-402-4277 or our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line in Greater Toronto Area, for times that work for you.