What Is Power of Attorney (POA)?
A power of attorney is a legal instrument that you sign granting one or more people the ability to manage your money and assets on your behalf. In most of Canada, the individual you appoint is known as an “attorney.” That individual does not need to be a lawyer.
The principal can give the agent extensive or restricted legal authority to make decisions concerning their activities. The sort of Power of attorney provided by the principal will determine the extent of the agent’s powers. In general, there are four types:
A general power of attorney is comprehensive, granting the agent all of the principal’s authority and rights. For example, a general power of attorney may give the agent the authority to sign documents on the principal’s behalf, Pay the principal’s invoices, and handle financial transactions on their behalf.
It is a valuable legal tool if, for example, the principal is hospitalized for an extended period or goes on vacation. A general power of attorney terminates when the principal dies or becomes incapable unless the principal revokes it before that time.
Limited or Special
A limited power of attorney (also known as an extraordinary power of attorney) authorizes the agent to act in the principal’s place for a specific reason. For example, a limited power of attorney could grant the agent the authority to sign a property deed on behalf of the principal on a day when the principal is absent. It typically terminates at the time mentioned in the text.
Durable or Lasting
A durable power of attorney (also known as an enduring power of attorney in non-US countries) differs from a general power of attorney because it continues effective after the principal becomes disabled. If the principal becomes incapable without an enduring power of attorney, the only method for another party to act lawfully on their behalf is for a court to impose a guardianship order.
As a result, an everlasting power of attorney prevents a court from interfering and appointing someone to make decisions on the principal’s behalf. It is in effect until the principal revokes it while they have mental capacity, and it might be broad or limited in scope.
A springing power of attorney permits the agent to act on behalf of the principal. However, it does not take effect until the principal is disabled. So, if springing Power is used, the principal must explicitly indicate how and when it occurs.
What Is A General Power Of Attorney (GPOA)?
A general power of attorney requires you to have capacity still. Thus, it can be canceled at any moment while you can. An available power of lawyer typically authorizes your selected agent to act on your behalf in all circumstances. However, you can limit that authority in the document establishing the power of attorney.
Before drafting a general power of counselor, consider scheduling a free consultation with the experts at Ag Law Firm. Our skilled and compassionate lawyers know what questions to ask to identify your needs.
A general power of attorney should include the following:
- Decide on the type of Power of lawyer you wish to create. Limit decisions to business, financial, and medical matters, or delegate general Power over all parts of your life.
- Choose an agent. You can choose anyone over the age of 18. However, your agent cannot serve as your healthcare provider. When selecting an agent, think about trust, loyalty, intellect, experience, access to information, and geographic location.
- Determine how much authority to offer. How much control do you want to delegate to your financial, medical, or management agent? A power of attorney might limit the scope of authority, such as granting permission to pay medical bills but not make medical decisions, or it can allow the person to handle your real estate properties or investments.
- Create a Power of Lawyer document. When creating a power of attorney, it is advisable to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that the breadth of your authorization is appropriate for your intentions and that the agent chosen is competent in carrying out your instructions.
- Deliver the Power of attorney document. You must provide a signed copy to the agent you have designated, healthcare professionals if medical, or the bank if financial.
What Are The Benefits And Risks Of Having A Power Of Attorney?
- It clarifies who is accountable for your money and property, even briefly, if you cannot handle them.
- Your attorney must handle your money and property to your advantage, and he or she may be legally obligated to account for and explain how it is being managed.
- It can be as broad or as particular as necessary.
- You may choose to appoint two or more attorneys. You can direct your solicitors to make all decisions together (“jointly”) or to act together or separately if one of them is unavailable (“jointly and severally”). You may also appoint alternate or successor attorneys.
- Having two or more solicitors could lessen the likelihood of fraudulent use of a Power of lawyer.
- A general Power of a lawyer authorizes your attorney to handle your affairs if you are temporarily absent or require assistance in managing your affairs.
- An enduring Power of Law lets your attorney continue managing your affairs if you lose mental competence.
- If you lose mental ability and do not have a legitimate Power of lawyer in place, someone will need to seek court permission to manage your finances and property. This can be time-consuming and costly.
May expose you to financial abuse
- It can result in mismanagement of your money and property if the attorney you hire is untrustworthy, misuses your money, or does not make judgments in your best interests.
It’s too straightforward or not specific enough
- Insufficient information or constraints in the document may result in financial mismanagement or management in a manner you disagree with.
- Your attorney must manage your affairs in the manner specified in the document. Strict constraints can make it difficult for your attorney to handle your finances.
- If you designate multiple attorneys to collaborate, conflicts between them may generate issues and delays in managing your financial affairs.
- If you do not regularly examine your Power of Counselor document, it may no longer match your current needs or legal requirements.
- The individual you previously chose as your attorney may no longer be the best option or may not be available.
- If you have signed multiple Power of lawyer documents, you may have “competing” Power of counselor. If you hire a new attorney, you should cancel your old Power of attorney and notify your financial institution of the change.
General Power of attorney is a critical legal instrument that allows a trustworthy person to manage one’s affairs while incapacitated. The document’s usefulness depends on defined powers, periodic modifications to reflect life events and professional legal guidance for clarity.
The simple Power of attorney form are accessible, but customized documents yield the best outcomes. Creating a complete general power of attorney facilitates seamless decision-making, protects one’s interests in unexpected situations and complex transactions, and provides peace of mind and efficient support.