Continuing Power of Attorney
Have you or a family member been diagnosed with dementia or ALS that could cause you to lose your ability to manage your own affairs?
Axess Law's Ontario estate lawyers can prepare a continuing power of attorney for property (POA) appointing a trusted person to make decisions for you when you are no longer able to make your own
What is Enduring Power of Attorney?
Enduring power of attorney is a continuing POA for property Your "attorney" is not a lawyer (unless you appoint a lawyer as your representative), but family members or trusted friends. They make decisions for you, honouring any decisions you communicated while you were still mentally capable.
For example, if you directed that your home should be sold and the proceeds used for long-term care, your attorney must arrange that. Unless your directions for your financial affairs are impossible to follow, such as paying for care services you can't afford, your attorney or other substitute decision makers must follow them to the letter.
That protects your wishes, so you can enjoy the quality of life you desire.
Types of Power of Attorney
Most power of attorney documents assist elderly parents with dementia or adults with physical or mental disabilities who may not be able to get around easily to go to the bank, pay bills, shop, dress or plan meals. You can have one or multiple attorneys who act jointly or "joint and severally", meaning they are bound by each other's actions.
POA for Personal Care or Property
POAs for personal care or property, as they are called, are made while you are mentally capable of making decisions, but need a little help to manage from day to day. You can make an individual POA for personal care, such as housing, health, nutrition, safety and hygiene services. You can include treatment wishes if desired. A POA for property allows your attorney to make financial decisions, such as managing income or real estate, filing income taxes or using assets to support your children or partner.
Continuing Power of Attorney
Continuing power of attorney or enduring POAs instruct your attorney to make decisions for you, managing personal care and finances as they see fit, on your behalf. It can take effect immediately, as soon as you sign the POA, or you can make a POA in advance and have it be effective only if you become mentally incapable.
What POA Attorneys Cannot Do
Your attorney cannot:
- change or draft Wills or POAs
- change beneficiaries, such as for RRSPs or life insurance
- make major medical decisions in place of your doctor
- give DNRs (do not resuscitate orders).
Our POA Services
Axess Law's Wills and estates lawyers specify your wishes by drafting a continuing POA. They explain what are the different types of power of attorney and help you revise your POA to suit your needs. You receive a final copy and if you want changes in future, our estate professionals prepare a new continuing POA.
Change or Cancel Power of Attorney
Because POAs are so inexpensive, we start over if your continuing POA is out of date or your health needs or finances change. You can write a new POA at any time while you are mentally capable, appoint a new attorney or revoke your POA altogether.
Axess Law advises reviewing your POA regularly:
- if you marry, divorce, separate or become widowed
- you become ill and need more care
- your attorney quits
- you inherit, earn or dispose of significant assets.
Tell your attorney immediately if you cancel or write a new POA so they can begin carrying out your new instructions. Let bankers, investment advisors, family and others know your plans have changed. And destroy any previous POAs to prevent confusion.
Preventing Abuse When You Have a POA
Next-of-kin or an advocate can take your attorney to court if you are mentally incapable of representing yourself and they suspect you suffer abuse, coercion or fraud. The Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) can even intervene if you have no one to advocate for you and your money is being squandered or you are being neglected or mistreated.
Who Decides Mental Capacity
Mental capacity can have different meanings, depending on your POA. For instance, a POA for property (finances) requires you know what assets you have and their approximate value and understand your obligations to your dependants.
Generally, to be mentally capable you must appreciate what you are giving your attorney authority to do, the consequences if they mismanage their power and that you can revoke your POA.
Medical professionals or capacity assessors with mental health training can determine if you are mentally capable. You or others can challenge their opinion in court if you disagree.
Why You Need a Lawyer to Draft Wills and POAs
If you're new to the idea of POAs, you may be wondering what type of lawyer does power of attorney. Although you can prepare a POA at any age, they are most often done while you are making other important estate decisions to protect your finances and loved ones.
Axess Law has experienced Wills and estate attorneys who can prepare your POA at the same time as you make a last Will and testament. Our licensed Ontario lawyers are skilled at making POAs and can ensure yours covers all your business, personal and family affairs.
We make sure your POA is irrevocable, unless you decide to change it, and that it is signed, witnessed and legally valid. We answer questions such as who can be an attorney, what to include, how to pay your attorney and how to prevent fraud or abuse.
You could make your own POA, but why bother when Axess Law can make a binding continuing POA for less than you pay for phone or cable services.
Documents We Need
Bring valid Ontario photo ID when you meet with your Axess Law online lawyer or in person. We suggest thinking ahead about who you want to appoint as attorney(s), what you will pay them and what conditions or restrictions you want included. For example, if you want your attorney to consult your family or hire professional advisors.
Save When You Draft a Will and POA
Axess Law's Ontario Wills and Estate lawyers can prepare continuing powers of attorney at the same time as they draft your personal Will for just $249.99 and up. You can make a POA without a Will for only $69.99. Get both a continuing POA for property and personal care for $99.99, then have us draft your personal Will later, at a time convenient for you. Our flat fees for Wills alone start at $199.99.
Book Online --We're Open 7 Days a Week, Day or Evening
We have day or evening appointments, 7 days a week, at Greater Toronto Area law offices nearby. Parking is available onsite and buses are easily accessible. Use our online booking form to reserve a time -- it's quick and easy -- or call our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line to pick a time that suits your schedule.