Power of Attorney for Personal Care
Imagine you have a sudden stroke or are mentally disabled in an accident. If you are still capable of making some, but not all decisions, you might be helped by family or friends. Hopefully, you thought ahead and made a power of attorney for personal care (POA) when you wrote your personal Will.
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.
Power of attorney for personal care gives someone you trust written permission to make decisions for you if 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 future. Your POA directs your personal care when you can't.
Planning for Your 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.
Who Can Make a POA in Ontario
Anyone over 16 who can understand the authority being granted and consequences of it can make a legally binding POA. Or you can make one for someone a health professional or evaluator declares is mentally incapacitated. Axess Law's Wills and estate lawyers explain how POAs work if you are debating what to do next. If you change your mind, we help revise or revoke your POA.
Making 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.
Your POA must be at least 16 and mentally competent. They cannot be someone who makes a living providing health care, educational, social, residential or support services. For example, nurses, teachers, social workers, landlords and home care workers are excluded. Spouses, common law partners, relatives or close friends are usual choices. You can give decision making authority to a paid professional advisor, but not a lawyer unless they are related to or live with you.
Making Financial Decisions When You Can't
Financial decisions are best left to a power of attorney 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 Will with POA for Property) for a low, flat rate fee. We can draft POAs without a Will or with a Will, whatever you prefer.
Are POAs for Personal Care Paid?
Compensation is not available for POAs for personal care, although you can leave gifts in your Will for anyone you desire..
Making Advance Medical Care Decisions
Some POAs include directions about the type of medical care you desire, such as naturopathic services. You may want to include a living will in your POA, requesting not to be artificially resuscitated, called a DNR (do not resuscitate) order, or indicating when to stop medical treatment if you are terminally ill.
A POA cannot direct anyone to end your life by giving you medical assistance in dying (MAID). You must be mentally capable to consent to MAID and it must be your decision.
Is a Loved One Being Abused or Coerced by a POA?
Our experienced legal team takes care that vulnerable family members are not being unduly influenced to make a POA. If you suspect someone you care about is being abused or coerced by a power of attorney they have appointed, Axess Law's Wills lawyers can refer you to appropriate services or suggest if you need to go to court to overturn a POA appointment.
Legal Requirements for POA in Ontario
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.
Writing a Will with POA
Axess Law's Ontario Wills and Estate lawyers can prepare powers of attorney for personal care at the same time as they draft your personal Will for just $299.99 and up. You can make an Ontario Will separately for $249.99 or a POA for personal care without a Will for only $69.99. Get both a POA for property and personal care for $99.99 when our Greater Toronto Area lawyers draft both POAs at once.
Book a POA and Will Appointment
Our Ontario Wills attorneys can meet with you by remote video conference or in person at any of our nearby Greater Toronto Area law offices. Make an appointment using our online booking form or call 1-647-479-0118.
Click here (see pages 21 & 22) to see a power of attorney for personal care sample.