Power of Attorney in Richmond Hill and Toronto
What is a Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney (also known more simply as a “POA”) is a legal document that gives someone else (ie. an “Attorney”) the right to act on your behalf and make certain decisions for you. You can include your spouse or relative, trusted friend or professional (i.e. a lawyer or accountant), or any capable adult as your attorney. After signing a Power of Attorney, your attorney will be able to:
- do your day-to-day banking and sign cheques on your behalf
- buy or sell real estate on your behalf
- borrow money on your behalf
- take on any other responsibilities listed in the Power of Attorney
Your attorney is legally obligated to act only in your interest and limits for their actions can be written in the POA. You can also have multiple attorneys listed in the POA. It is important to consider any conflicts between their actions given that they share access to your bank account and or other assets.
POAs are normally needed in one of the following two scenarios
If you are going to be out of town or in a different country for an indefinite period of time, you may need someone to act as your Attorney on a real estate transaction or other financial/property matters and sign documents on your behalf.
If you are deemed to be incapable (i.e. unable to make decisions or to understand the consequences of said decisions), an attorney can act on your behalf and make decisions in your best interests. Examples of this include being in a coma, unconscious, or experiencing mental deficiencies due to old age or a health problem.
What Are the Different Types of POAs in Ontario?
There are generally two different types of POAs:
- Power of Attorney for Property/Financial Matters
Such POAs may be used when individuals want their Attorney to be authorized to sign documents for buying, selling, or refinancing property on their behalf, to sign personal cheques on their behalf, and/or deal with other property on their behalf such as stocks, mutual funds, bonds etc.
- Power of Attorney for Personal Care
This type of POA covers one’s personal decisions, such as those related to housing or health care. For example, someone may want to authorize their Attorney to hire nurses and keep them in their residence for as long as their medical condition will allow, or they may want their Attorney to be authorized to remove them off life support devices if their medical condition takes a turn for the worse.
At Seif Law Firm, we give you the option of making a POA for either a property/financial matters or personal care, and we also give you the option of making a single general POA that incorporates both of these types of POA in the same legal document.
Our lawyers specialize in all kinds of P.O.A.s, including ordinary and enduring (continuing), financial and general POAs.
Protection at a Minimal Cost
In order to sign a POA, one must be capable. If you wait until issues of incapacity and/or health problems develop that prevent you from signing a POA, it will be a very costly and time-consuming process to install a substitute decision-maker (such as a court-appointed Guardian of Property or Guardian of the Person). Also, it may cause additional stress and hardship for your loved ones as they try to help you navigate your property/financial matters and personal care decisions while you are incapable.
Power of Attorney Lawyer
To better understand what services a Power of Attorney lawyer provides it’s best to know what a power of attorney (POA) is. It is a legal document that gives a particular person authority to act on your behalf in the case that you are mentally unable to. You can be rendered mentally incapable due to medical reasons or any other reason that makes you mentally unable to make important decisions. When this happens, a power of attorney has the legal authority to make decisions for you. A power of attorney may be granted for a special legal purpose or for unspecified or general purposes.
It’s always a good idea to have one power of attorney to handle your assets and a different power of attorney dedicated for personal care. This is because these are two separate issues. Someone who may be most appropriate to handling your property may not be the person you want to make important decisions about your medical care.
Can a power of attorney in Ontario be used after death?
The answer is no. Once a person dies, the power of attorney can no longer perform duties on your behalf of that individual and the document is no longer valid. Upon death, a Last Will and Testament becomes the document to be used.
I think someone is abusing a power of attorney. What do I do?
A power of attorney is supposed to advocate to the best of their ability for the person who grants them the power. Sometimes an individual may seem suitable for this role, but over time, may prove to be abusing this power or otherwise not fulfilling the responsibilities adequately. If you suspect that a power of attorney is misusing their authority and not acting in the best interest of the individual, it may be necessary to launch an investigation with The Office of Public Guardian and Trustee.
What do I do if my parent is mentally incapable and there is no power of attorney?
If your parent becomes mentally incapable suddenly and there is no appointed power of attorney, then, by default, the Ontario Substitute Decisions Act kicks in and the Office of Public Guardian and Trustee will assume power of attorney for the individual who has been declared mentally incapable. However, this does not have to be permanent. It’s important to note that families have the option of transferring power of attorney to somebody of their choice.
How to get power of attorney in Ontario?
This is a straightforward process. You can either download the forms online or request for them to be mailed to you by Service Ontario.
What can a POA cannot do?
A power of attorney cannot make decisions for someone after their death. When someone dies, an executor in charge of the Last Will and Testament and estate will take over the role of decision making.
A power of attorney cannot make changes to someone’s living will and testament. They are also not allowed to break their commitment to act in the best interest of the person who granted them the power by transferring power of attorney to another person.
FAQs about Power of Attorney in Ontario
While a Will applies after your death (and explains your wishes with respect to distributing the assets of your estate), a POA applies while you are still alive but are either unavailable or incapable as described above.
Your family may be forced to petition a court to be appointed as your legal guardian or conservator in order to gain the authority they need to care for you.
In Ontario, your spouse does not automatically have power of attorney over property that is solely registered under your name.
As long as the principal (the person granting the power of attorney) is mentally competent and able to communicate, they are the only entity that can revoke a power of attorney. If they are no longer able to communicate, however, the power of attorney can be challenged by a third party.
The legal fees of a power of attorney in Ontario are usually calculated based on the document you want to authorize to a lawyer. The price can range anywhere from $100 to $300 per document. Contact us directly for more details.
No. Power of Attorney is no longer valid after death. After death Last Will and Testament is the document that takes over.
Contact Us Today!
Power of Attorney fees in Ontario vary depending on location and are case-specific. Seif Law offers quality and professional wills and Power of Attorney services. Our clients approach us from all over the GTA including Thornhill, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, Woodbridge, King City, Aurora, Newmarket & more. We will help you achieve your goals in a cost-effective way. If you are interested in retaining our legal services, please contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote on Power of Attorney services.