What is a Power of Attorney for Personal Care?
A power of attorney is a legal document in which one person (the donor) appoints another person (the attorney) to make decisions on their behalf if they’re unable to. Powers of Attorney can be extremely useful and versatile. Power of attorney for personal care gives someone you trust written authority to make decisions for you in a situation where you are unable to do so yourself. It protects your interests while you can still manage your own affairs, in case you become ill or injured in the future. Your POA directs your personal care when you can’t.
But what if you don’t have a POA? If friends or next-of-kin are unavailable to speak up for you, an Ontario court will appoint the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee to represent you. A stranger could make personal care and maybe even medical or long-term care decisions for you.
How It Works
Book Your Appointment
Click on ‘Get Started’ button to submit a request to meet with the Lawyer. Our customer care team will reach out to you within minutes to book your appointment.
Submit Your Documents
On the day of your appointment, our lawyer will verify your identification and walk you through the intake process where they confirm your contact information.
Draft Your Will With A Lawyer
Our lawyer will ask you a series of questions regarding your executor, beneficiaries, and make a note of your wishes before drafting a Will accordingly.
Execute Your Will With A Lawyer
Our lawyer will cross-check each page of the Will with you and if you are happy with the draft, the Will is signed and executed by the lawyer on the same day.
Documents We Need
Axess Law will ask you for two pieces of ID. Proving your identity is obligatory to prevent fraud. You may use either two pieces of primary ID or one primary and one secondary ID. These include:
- Driver’s license
- Canadian passport
- Ontario photo card
- Canadian citizenship card with photo
- PR card with photo
How Do I Make a POA for Personal Care?
Making a power of attorney for personal care in Ontario takes less time than you might expect. Our Wills and estates lawyers in Greater Toronto Area draft POAs quickly and at very little cost. We make suggestions about how to pick a POA and prepare Ontario power of attorney for personal care forms for you.
You can appoint a single POA, ask several family or friends to make joint decisions for you or name a substitute in case your attorney is unable or unwilling to act for you. Whatever you decide, Axess Law’s Wills attorneys recommend a completely separate power of attorney for property to protect financial assets from fraud or undue influence.
How Can I Begin Planning for My Future Care?
Making an advance POA allows you to choose your own representative. Wills take effect after your death. POAs give friends or family members authority to be your substitute decision-maker while you’re alive.
Your POA can make decisions about:
- your nutrition
- personal hygiene
- personal safety
- or, if you are completely incapacitated, medical or long-term care.
Unless a health professional or Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee capacity assessor decides you are mentally incapable of making decisions, your attorney will consult with you about your everyday care. Your POA may even ask trusted family or friends who know you well for advice. They will only make medical or long-care decisions if a health professional or assessor confirms you are unable to do so. Be assured, even if you are completely incapacitated, a competent POA will act in your best interests.
What Can Your Power of Attorney Do?
Your POA can make decisions about:
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We worked with Jaz for setting up our Will and POA. He is very knowledgeable and answered our questions with patience and understanding.
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You can make POAs for almost any situation:
- Continuing Power of Attorney for Property to manage your financial affairs if you become mentally incapacitated.
- Non-continuing Power of Attorney for Property to assist with day-to-day financial decisions when you are elderly or on vacation but mentally capable. Non-continuing POAs can be revoked when or if you no longer require assistance.
- Power of Attorney for Personal Care to make personal decisions if you are mentally incapable, such as about your health care, housing, meals, clothing, and hygiene.
Your “attorney” is not a lawyer, unless you give POA to a lawyer, and can be anyone who is eligible.
A living Will is a legal document describing a person’s desires regarding their medical care in the event that they become incapable of expressing consent and stating their wishes. Most commonly, people indicate whether or not they want to be kept on life support, resuscitated, or donate their organs. Naturally, because a living Will is closely tied to health care, some people decide to include a living Will as part of their POA for personal care. However, many people also like the flexibility of a simple POA for personal care, allowing the appointed attorney to make decisions as they see fit. It is always advisable to discuss your wishes with your attorney as early as possible after your POA for personal care or living Will is drafted.
One way to distinguish between your POA and your Will is by envisioning a timeline. A POA is used to protect your wishes while you are still alive, while your Will is used to protect your wishes after you’ve passed away. Both legal documents are important and useful in their own ways, but these terms shouldn’t be used interchangeably as they serve two very different purposes.
If you are unable to make decisions on your own behalf and you have not appointed a power of attorney, there are set rules dictating how decisions regarding your assets and care will be made:
- In Ontario, without a POA for personal care, the Health Care Consent Act outlines a list of who will make decisions on your behalf. The order is as follows: your spouse or common law partner, parents, siblings, and finally, any other living relative. Sometimes an issue arises when the person granted the right to make decisions for your health care isn’t the person you actually want making those choices, however, having a POA can help to prevent this problem from arising.
- Without a POA for property, your family will likely not be able to access or manage your assets. Therefore, for example, they won’t be able to pay your bills or collect money owed to you. Instead, they may have to undergo a lengthy and expensive process where they will petition to become your legal guardian and gain access to your property.
Simply put, having a power of attorney ensures that if you are unable to make health care or financial decisions for yourself in the future for any reason, your loved ones will have the power to take care of you and your belongings according to your wishes.
Financial decisions are best left to a POA for property, completely independently of your POA for personal care. Axess Law can arrange for you to have POAs for both personal care and property (see Wills with Power of Attorney for Property) for a low, flat-rate fee. We can draft POAs without a Will or with a Will, whatever you prefer.
Axess Law drafts a written POA for personal care and ensures it is properly witnessed. You must sign your POA in front of two witnesses, who will also sign the document to make it legally valid. Your witnesses must be independent and 18 or older. They cannot include the attorney being appointed, their spouse or common law partner, or your own.