What is a power of attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes one person to act for another person. A grant of power of attorney allows the attorney to sign legal documents and to make contracts according to the powers granted within the power of attorney. Historically a power of attorney ceased upon mental incapacity (these can still be made), but under the present British Columbia legislation, the power of attorney can be enduring if you wish; in this case it continues to operate even if the person granting the power of attorney has become mentally incapable. Of course, the grantor of the power of attorney had to be mentally competent at the time the power of attorney was signed. Your power of attorney ceases to be effective upon death. Your Will then comes into force.
What can a power of attorney be used for?
Most legal authority can be granted to an attorney. The most usual use of a power of attorney is for signing real estate documents when the grantor of the power of attorney is out of the province, unable to sign the documents, or mentally incapable. For example, even though you own property as a joint tenant with your spouse, if your spouse became mentally incapable, you need a power of attorney to sell your home.
What is a general power of attorney?
The most common form of power of attorney is the general power of attorney, which allows the attorney to do almost all acts that the grantor of the power of attorney could do. The general power of attorney usually allows the attorney to act after mental infirmity and also could be used in the Land Title Office for greater than three years. In order for the power of attorney to continue past mental incapacity, the power of attorney must expressly say that it is an enduring power of attorney.
Do I need a power of Attorney?
It is a often convenient for a person and their spouse to have an enduring power of attorney on each other. I that case if one becomes sick or is mentally incapacitated then the other can sign documents on the behalf of the other. It is not an expensive to do and can help avoid a lot of issues if ones spouse is not available or has a accident or sudden illness.