If you are planning to make a will in Ontario, you should know that you will be asked to appoint a power of attorney. This allows the person of your choosing to make financial and personal care decisions for you should you be incapacitated in the future. That said, there are nuances and details that should be considered. For instance, what kinds of assets will the person be able to manage on your behalf? Also, who is considered eligible for the appointment of power of attorney? Read on as our Ottawa estate lawyer shares what you need to know about power of attorney:
What Is a Power of Attorney?
It is a legal document allowing you to appoint somebody you trust to decide on your behalf regarding important matters. Note that a power of attorney is different from a will but it may also be used for the management of your finances and assets, including your properties.
In Ontario, all adults have the right to name an agent (often an attorney) in a power of attorney document, allowing them to make certain decisions for them should they be in a situation where they are unable to make them themselves.
Who Can Be Appointed Power of Attorney in Ontario?
Anybody aged 18 or older can be appointed a power of attorney in Ontario, that is, except for when the person getting appointed has been found incapable because of mental illness or injury.
When signing a power of attorney, it is needed that two people serve as witnesses. They should sign the last page of the power of attorney document with you. Not everybody is eligible to become witnesses, though. For instance, you cannot have your spouse or children as your witnesses. Anyone below the age of 18, your attorney, or your attorney’s spouse cannot serve as a witness either.
Two Types of Power of Attorney in Ontario
In Ontario, there are two types of powers of attorney:
- Personal care
An attorney for property is responsible for decisions regarding your financial affairs. Without an attorney for property, there will be a need for your loved ones to go to court to request to be your court-appointed guardian. They will not be able to make decisions for you automatically.
An attorney for personal care, on the other hand, will be the one to decide on your health and medical care, housing, and other personal matters. WIthout an attorney for personal care, your loved ones can step in to make some decisions regarding your health, though there are still some decisions that are out of their hands.
Can a Power of Attorney Transfer Funds to Themselves in Ontario?
There are restrictions on the types of financial transactions a power of attorney can carry out in Ontario. For one, the principal’s assets cannot be transferred to themselves using either type of power of attorney.
This restriction is applicable whether or not the principal is alive at the time of the signing of the power of attorney document. What this means is that even if there’s an enduring power of attorney in place and you’ve become incapacitated, the agent still won’t be able to transfer your assets to themselves should the time come that you’re unable to decide for yourself.
This also means that in case you die while having an enduring power of attorney, the agent won’t be able to purchase property using funds from your estate. They are also not able to sell any of your assets without permission from someone who holds one or more powers over those same assets.
These are just some of the basics of powers of attorney in Ontario that you should know about. Even if nobody wants to have to use a power of attorney in the future, you should know how important it is to have your health, finances, and personal interests of you and your loved ones protected. Getting an Ottawa estate lawyer to explain everything and help you through the process is an excellent idea.
Ontario Wills can provide you with the legal services of an Ottawa estate lawyer who can help you take care of your estate, including your powers of attorney. Set a legal consultation with our lawyer today!