Power of Attorney for Edmonton Residence

Edmonton Estate Power of Attorney Lawyers in Alberta

Estate planning is not just about what happens after you die. It can also you prepare for your future.

A power of attorney (POA) is an important estate planning document that authorizes another individual (“attorney” or “agent”) to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. It requires considerable thought before you create it because it could profoundly affect your loved ones and your financial decisions as you age.

Sitting down with your estate planning lawyer and drafting a power of attorney will bring the peace of mind of knowing that if something happens to you, your finances will be taken care of.

At Spectrum Family Law in Edmonton, our power of attorney lawyers can help you create the documents that protect you and your loved ones.

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When do I need a power of attorney?

Most people find it difficult to contemplate a time when they can no longer look after themselves or make their own decisions.

Unfortunately, this can have unintended negative consequences later in life for you and your loved ones.

While it’s true that many people leave power of attorney arrangements to their later years, it’s also true that many people leave it too late. Ageing is inevitable and accidents and medical emergencies are more common than most people care to imagine. A power of attorney is part of planning for those scenarios but it’s too late to create this after you have lost mental capacity.

You can only legally sign a power of attorney agreement while you retain the mental capacity to do so.

Without a POA, if you lose mental capacity, your loved ones may have to apply to the court for the relevant powers to access your financial accounts and manage your affairs. This can lead to delays and financial stress. Disputes between family members may develop about who has the right to make decisions or control your assets. A public trustee might even have to make financial decisions for you, in some cases.

So, if you decide that you want a particular person (or group of people) to be able to act on your behalf to make property and finance decisions if you are unable to do so, you should start thinking about a power of attorney sooner rather than later.

Main benefits of a Power of Attorney

Several practical benefits of a power of attorney agreement lead to greater peace of mind for a donor.

The main benefits are:

  • Greater assurance that your finances are in good hands even if you lose capacity
  • Ability to keep your attorney(s) accountable by law
  • Flexibility to be specific or general about the powers granted
  • Flexibility to change the agreement in the future, if required
  • Avoidance of delays, expense and disputes for loved ones
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What types of power of attorneys are available in Alberta?

All power of attorney documents essentially provide legal consent for another person to look after the financial affairs of a person who has lost the capacity to make decisions.

Most commonly, they are set up for people concerned about the loss of mental capacity in old age. However, other types of power of attorney cover people unable to manage their financial affairs due to other reasons, such as travel, business or illness.

Specific power of attorney

Sometimes, people need to grant power of attorney to another individual only for a specific financial transaction, such as buying or selling a business.

This requires specific power of attorney detailing the actions permitted by the attorney.

General power of attorney

With a general power of attorney, you appoint a trusted person (or group of people) to act on your behalf in any matters involving your assets.

Some people limit the scope of a general POA by time but most are indefinite.

Enduring power of attorney

With an enduring power of attorney, a nominated individual (or group of people) is appointed to act on your behalf if and when you lose mental capacity.

There are two main types of enduring power of attorney:

  • Springing: activated only if you receive a diagnosis of loss of mental capacity, which triggers the power of attorney agreement.
  • Continuing: where you authorize the legal powers granted under specific or general power of attorneys to continue if you lose mental capacity.

Before making any decisions, discuss your requirements with a power of attorney lawyer at Spectrum Family Law, who can advise you of the document(s) you need.

As well as a power of attorney for financial affairs, your lawyer can advise you about how to appoint another individual to make medical and personal decisions on your behalf.

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What are the basic rules for creating a POA in Alberta?

Power of attorney agreements can potentially be abused by an attorney who does not act in the best interests of the donor. Because of this, a set of guidelines are outlined in Alberta’s Powers of Attorney Act.

To create a power of attorney in Alberta:

  • The donor and the attorney must be at least 18 years old
  • The attorney must be mentally capable and understand the responsibilities of the role (especially with regards to acting in the donor’s best interests at all times and maintaining confidentiality)
  • The document must be signed by both parties with a witness present
  • The attorney cannot be a witness

Furthermore, the witness must sign an affidavit before a Notary Public or a Commissioner for Oaths to confirm the following information:

  • They were present when the document was signed
  • They know the donor
  • The document was signed without coercion
  • The donor understands the document

According to the Powers of Attorney Act, if the attorney acts within the scope of the power awarded, he or she has the legal right to take all necessary actions until:

  • The attorney’s power is revoked, or
  • The donor loses mental capacity and no Enduring Power of Attorney is in place, or
  • The donor passes away, or
  • The POA is no longer required

A power of attorney ends automatically upon the death of the donor. The deceased’s estate is then handled by the personal representative named in the will.

Can you revoke a power of attorney in Edmonton?

If your relationship with the attorney has changed, you want to name a more eligible person as an attorney, or the Power of Attorney is no longer required, you can revoke it providing you have the mental capacity to do so.

To revoke your POA, you need to complete a Revocation of Power of Attorney document.

Create a power of attorney in Edmonton

Please contact us now to schedule a consultation or call us at (780) 756-0076. We look forward to meeting with you.

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