Giving Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document. It gives one person, or more than one person, the authority to manage your money and property for you.
You're not required to make a Power of Attorney. However, it's a good idea to have a Power of Attorney in case you become unable to manage your own finances. You may also want to have a Power of Attorney if you just want some help managing your finances.
The person you name is usually called an “attorney.” That person does not need to be a lawyer.
This document gives the attorney complete access to your finances.
This means they can:
- do your day-to-day banking
- 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
Talk to a lawyer to help you understand all the risks and benefits of a Power of Attorney document.
What to think about when making a Power of Attorney
Talk to the person you've chosen as attorney to make sure they're willing to be your attorney. If they are, talk to them about their duties. Make sure that they're aware of your wishes.
Remind the attorney that they're legally obligated to always act in your best interest, not their own. If you want your attorney to be able to give gifts, such as money, on your behalf (including to the attorney), this should be clearly set out in the Power of Attorney document.
Consider the pros and cons of naming more than one person as attorney. Disputes between attorneys could cause problems in the management of your finances.
Think about naming a trusted professional as your decision-maker if your finances are complicated or if you're not sure if your friends or family can manage them. Keep in mind there may be fees.
Make sure you list any restrictions in your power of attorney document if there is anything you don't want your attorney to be able to do.
Check with your financial institution to learn about its rules for dealing with attorneys.
Continue to review your account statements as long as you're able to do so. Take action if the transactions done by your attorney aren't what you wanted.
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