A power of attorney is a document that appoints another person, (an “attorney”), to make financial and legal decisions for you. It can be specific or general; For example, you may give your son or daughter a power of attorney strictly to cash your pension cheques for you. Your bank can also give you a form if you need a power of attorney just for a specific bank account. Or, if you wish, you can give your attorney very wide powers to deal with all of your assets, including banking, real estate and other legal and financial matters. You should consult a lawyer for real estate transactions.
An enduring power of attorney permits your appointed attorney to make the necessary financial and legal decisions for you in case you become mentally incapable due to age, accident, or illness. An enduring power of attorney must state that it will continue to be in effect if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself by reasons of mental infirmity. In the event you are not able to do so yourself, a power of attorney does not allow your attorney to make medical or health care decisions for you, such as consenting to surgery or dental work you may require. These decisions require what is called a “representation agreement”.
As a Power of Attorney is a very powerful document, you should carefully consider who you want to appoint as your attorney and what powers you want to give.
It is extremely important that you trust that person’s honesty, integrity and judgment. If you have no family member or friend that you feel you can or want to appoint, then you can appoint a respected professional such as your lawyer, accountant, or a trust company.