Power of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a document by which one person gives another individual or several individuals the authority to act on that person’s behalf. In Ontario there are two types of Powers of Attorney.
The Power of Attorney for Property
This is a document that gives authority to another person to deal with your property either generally or for specific property as may be designated in the Power of Attorney. By granting such a power to an individual it is obviously important that you trust the person implicitly. A Power of Attorney allows the attorney to sign documents on your behalf. A Power of Attorney for Property is usually drawn as a Continuing Power of Attorney so that it will remain effective should you become incapacitated either physically or mentally.
The Power of Attorney for Personal Care (Living Will)
This is a document that gives authority to another person to make decisions about your health care and living arrangements should you become incapacitated. Most retirement homes and long-term nursing care facilities require residents to have this document placed on file so that the institution can obtain directions if you are mentally incapacitated to the extent that you cannot make rational decisions or cannot communicate your wishes because of a medical problem, such as a stroke, that curtails your ability to speak and write. Provided that you are mentally competent and can communicate your wishes you may give instructions about your own health care and living arrangements that over-ride any instructions given by the individual to whom you have granted the Power of Attorney for Personal Care.
For more information about Powers of Attorney for Property and Powers of Attorney for Personal Care (Living Will) please look at the information on the website of the Public Guardian and Trustee: Power of Attorney and “Living Wills” — Some Questions and Answers.