A power of attorney is a legal document in which you give one or more persons the authority to make decisions on your behalf should anything should happen to you and are no longer able to look after matters on your own.
The names and requirements for the types of powers of attorney that deal with finances and property will vary depending on the province or territory where you live. In Ontario, the three types are:
- Non-Continuing Power of Attorney, which covers financial affairs for a specific length of time, outlining specific tasks your attorney(s) is/are allowed to execute on your behalf and for how long. It may be used in a situation where you are travelling and away from home for an extended period of time. It is automatically revoked should you become mentally incapacitated.
- Continuing Power of Attorney (“CPOA”), which covers financial affairs and allows the attorney(s) you name to make decisions for you should you become mentally incapable, such as: paying bills; applying for benefits; collecting income; monitoring investment portfolios; and generally ensuring assets are otherwise protected. Although the CPOA may be as specific as you want, it should be broad enough for your attorney(s) to carry to carry out your wishes and manage your financial affairs effectively.
- Power of Attorney for Personal Care (“POAPC”), which covers personal decisions should you become incapacitated, such as housing and healthcare. If a decision is about medical treatment or admission to a long-term care facility, a health professional must determine that you are incapable of these decisions before your attorney(s) can act.
It should be noted that decisions involving quality of care and possibly your continued life support can be difficult. The attorney(s) you choose should be prepared to handle the emotional toll that these responsibilities may take.
You are not required to have a power of attorney. However, should something happen to you and you don’t have one, arrangements will still have to be made during those unfortunate and difficult times. By making powers of attorney, you can plan ahead and be certain that your plans will be carried out.
Notary Pro offers free CPOA and POAPC templates in Microsoft Word, via e-mail. We are not a law firm. We are simply inserting your name and information into the Ontario Government Power of Attorney forms. You may also consider having a lawyer draft powers of attorney that specifically meet your needs and circumstances, especially if they are complicated. For more information, please refer to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General: Powers of Attorney Q&A and/or consult a lawyer.
Up until very recently, powers of attorney were required to be signed and witnessed in-person. As of April 2020, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General is now permitting lawyers and notaries to virtually witness the physical signing of powers of attorney. Once completed, you can book an appointment online to sign the powers of attorney using our virtual witnessing service.