What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document giving a person the authority to act on your behalf on legal and financial matters. The person you appoint to act on your behalf is called an “attorney” and it is not to be confused with a lawyer.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney specifically allows the Power of Attorney to continue to be in effect beyond the incapacity of the individual. In other words, instead of the Power of Attorney ending at the point the person is unable to manage his or her affairs, it continues beyond the point of incapacity.
What are the Requirements of an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An individual who makes an Enduring Power of Attorney must be an adult (the age of majority in B.C. is 19 years of age). He or she must be of sound mind at the time of signing the Enduring Power of Attorney and must not be unduly influenced or coerced into signing the Enduring Power of Attorney. The Enduring Power of Attorney must state whether the attorney may exercise authority while the person is capable, or only when the person is incapable of handling their affairs.
What is a Springing Power of Attorney?
A Springing Power of Attorney is an Enduring Power of Attorney where the attorney’s authority can be exercised only if certain events occur. For example, the power of attorney might specify that it comes into force only when a medical doctor signs a statutory declaration in which the doctor declares that the person is incapable of making decisions about their financial affairs.
A Springing Power of Attorney is usually created when a person is reluctant to empower their attorney to act immediately.
A Springing Power of Attorney is not without its drawbacks. For example, it may take time and expense to get the necessary declarations from a medical doctor. As a result, you may go a long time without any assistance in managing the affairs, which can be detrimental to the individual’s financial situation. Also, certain medical conditions, such as dementia, may come about slowly and the individual may require someone to assist in looking after their affairs even though they may still be determined to be capable by a medical doctor. As such, the Springing Power of Attorney would not be helpful in these circumstances.
Why is having an Enduring Power of Attorney important?
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a simple and inexpensive, yet essential part of an estate plan. Should you be unable to look after your affairs due to mental incapacity or physical injury, it is important that you have designated someone you trust to look after your affairs on your behalf. This would be things such as paying your bills, withdrawing funds from your account, dealing with legal matters, dealing with property etc.
Should you not have an Enduring Power of Attorney, a member of your family will have to make a court application to be appointed to look after your affairs. This will take time and may result in financial loss, not to mention the costs of making a court application which could be in the thousands of dollars.
In my Enduring Power of Attorney who can I appoint as my Attorney?
In an Enduring Power of Attorney you can appoint a family member, close trusted friend, lawyer, trust company etc., as your attorney. It is important that your attorney is someone you trust. He or she must be an adult and be capable of being an attorney.
Can you have more than one Attorney in an Enduring Power of Attorney?
Yes, you can appoint one person and an alternate attorney should the first attorney be unable or unwilling to act as your attorney. You can also appoint more than one person as your Attorney and have them make decisions either unanimously or individually.
Who can Witness an Enduring Power of Attorney?
The witness requirements for an Enduring Power of Attorney are quite complicated. As such, we strongly recommend that an Enduring Power of Attorney is witnessed by either a lawyer who is a member with the Law Society of British Columbia, or a Notary Public who is a member in good standing with the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia. By having your Enduring Power of Attorney witnessed by a Lawyer or Notary Public, you can ensure that your Enduring Power of Attorney can be registered with land titles to deal with real estate issues should it be necessary.
What are the costs of drafting an Enduring Power of Attorney?
The cost of drafting just an Enduring Power of Attorney is $295. However, as part of a Will & Estate package which includes a Will, Advanced Health Care Directive, Representation Agreement and Enduring Power of Attorney, the fee is $995 for all documents plus applicable taxes. For couples with similar documentation, the fee for two Wills, two Advanced Health Care Directives, two Representation Agreements and two Enduring Powers of Attorney is $1,295 plus applicable taxes. Our hourly rate is normally $295 per hour plus applicable taxes. We do not charge for such things as photocopying, faxing, secretarial services, and long distance telephone calls, which can save you hundreds of dollars more.
Why use M.J. O’Nions Lawyer & Mediator for drafting my Enduring Power of Attorney?
We have the knowledge, expertise and experience to draft a Power of Attorney document that meets your goals and objectives. We will do this in a cost-effective manner while providing high quality professional service. We understand your needs and we are here to help. Just give us a call at 604-449-7779 to book an appointment.