The Power of Attorney Role

A PAnne_siting-Red-Dressower of Attorney is an individual assigned by a Testator (Estate Planner) who is required to take on and manage the financial and legal responsibilities of the Estate Planner if the Planner is not capable of doing so.

It only takes a couple of minutes for the significance of that to hit home.   It means all financial decisions and everything the individual owns is controlled by the Power of Attorney (Guardian).   The responsibilities include making decisions about how money will be spent, paying bills, collecting money owed to the Planner, filing tax returns, managing investments and selling property – and that is just the easy stuff.  The Exit Savvy Enduring Power of Attorney Workbook provides the information needed by a Power of Attorney:  https://www.exitsavvy.com/products-services/for-power-of-attorneys/

 

The consequence of that for the Planner is that he or she must decide on an individual who will become fully responsible for the major aspects of for his/her life. The consequences for the Power of Attorney are:

  • Legal responsibility and accountability for the security and safety of the individual
  • Representation of the individual in all legal matters
  • Ensuring the management of, and accounting for, all associated financial activities are maintained
  • Establishing and maintaining complete separation between personal finances and the finances of the individual for whom they are functioning as Power of Attorney
  • Satisfying the wishes of the individual to the greatest extent possible

Choosing a Power of Attorney is a decision that every Estate Planner must make and it can be a tough one.  Considerations for making that decision include ability, time and willingness along with practicalities such as the geographical location of both.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, in 2016 there were 564,000 Canadians living with dementia, 25,000 new cases are diagnosed every year and a projected 937,000 individuals will be living with dementia by 2031. 

Every person with dementia needs someone who is prepared take on the role of Power of Attorney.

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