Frequently Asked Questions
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows another person to look after your legal and financial affairs. The person who gives the power is called the donor and the person who gets the power is called the attorney. The Power of Attorney is a written document that must be signed by the donor in front of a witness. The witness must also sign the document.
You can choose anyone as an attorney, as long as they are at least 18 years old and mentally capable. To give the power of attorney, you as donor must also be at least 18 years old and mentally capable.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a Power of Attorney that continues even if the maker of the Power of Attorney becomes incompetent.
Anyone who is 18 years of age or older and is mentally capable can be named as an attorney. An attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney also cannot be an undischarged bankrupt.
Anyone except for the attorney named and the spouse or a common-law partner of the donor can be a witness for a general Power of Attorney. For an Enduring Power of Attorney, the witness must be one of the following:
Yes. In such a case, the donor must direct someone else to sign for him/her and acknowledge the signature in the presence of a qualified witness.
The following can be witnesses: a judge, justice of the peace, doctor, notary public, lawyer, or police officer.
As an attorney you are supposed to conduct the individual’s affairs as you would your own, using prudence, discretion, and intelligence. A greater standard of care is imposed on attorneys who are compensated for their work. They are to use the judgment and care that an individual who is involved in the business of managing the property of others would use.
You are not automatically entitled to be compensated for your work as an attorney. If the Power of Attorney document does not set out any rate of compensation you could request fair and reasonable compensation from the court.
If the Power of Attorney document does not indicate that attorneys are to act together, they are presumed to act in succession. The person named first in the Power of Attorney has the right to act.
You can revoke your Power of Attorney in writing at any time as long as you are competent. You may want to notify all of the institutions and organizations that may have a copy of the Power of Attorney document and let them know that it has been revoked.
The Public Trustee becomes involved in looking after people’s personal and financial affairs or estates in the following ways:
The Public Trustee charges fees for these services.
When a person becomes mentally incompetent and loses the legal capacity to look after legal and financial matters, a committee may be appointed by the Court, or, in the case of the Public Trustee, by the Chief Provincial Psychiatrist.
A family member, friend, or trust company wishing to assume the responsibility for the affairs of a mentally incompetent person must apply to the Court for an Order of Committeeship. Although the application does not usually require a Court appearance, the services of a lawyer are usually needed to prepare the required documents.
Maybe. The Public Trustee will investigate whether the Enduring Power of Attorney was properly executed and whether you have properly managed the donor’s affairs. If they are satisfied that you have served the donor’s best interests and will continue to do so, they can allow you to continue to act. If the Public Trustee has concerns and decides to act, the Enduring Power of Attorney will end automatically.
The attorney is required to account to the person who was named in the Power of Attorney document as a recipient of an accounting. If there was no one named in the document, then the nearest relative is entitled to receive an accounting on an annual basis. If the spouse is incompetent or deceased, then the next nearest relative could request the accounting. There is no obligation for the attorney to act on the information that they receive.
No. Such power is given in another document, called a Living Will or Health Care Directive.