What Is a Power of Attorney and Why Is It Necessary?


Two Canadian woman sitting on couch, realizing they require a family lawyer to draw up a power of attorney document due to the declining health of a family member.

As unexpected events occur in our lives, sometimes we find ourselves in situations that require someone else to manage our affairs. As we age, there is always the question of what will happen to our property and finances after we pass. It is natural to hope that the event of your death will not cause an unnecessary burden to anyone else. This is why it’s good to make a plan for someone else to execute your wishes if you’re not able to by establishing a power of attorney.

A power of attorney is a legal document appointing someone else the authority to manage your finances and property. In this document, this person is called an ‘attorney’, although they do not need to be a lawyer. This person will be able to make decisions on your behalf. This might occur when you’re either mentally capable or incapable. However, you must be mentally capable at the time you sign it.

General Power of Attorney

Sometimes, the attorney will work on your behalf to do something like sell a house or manage your bank accounts even when you are mentally capable of doing so. The legal document appointing someone this power is called a general power of attorney. It can be specific or limited in ways that designate certain tasks or time periods. It is no longer applicable should you become mentally incapable of managing your affairs.

Enduring Power of Attorney

While general power of attorney applies when you’re mentally capable of making decisions, the enduring or continuing power of attorney applies when you are deemed incapable of making decisions. If you don’t have any limitations in the power of attorney document, the attorney you appoint will have all the same power over your financial and properties affairs that you do.

Matters Other Than Property and Finances

There are legal documents that can be prepared for you to designate decision-making power in non-financial matters. They might apply to health or personal care decisions. Be aware that these documents may go by different names and the powers designated need to be specified.

Let Us Help You

At TMB Law, we can help you with preparing your power of attorney. Have a look at our About Page to find one of our qualified lawyers who can assist you.