What is a Power of Attorney?

It is a document that allows a person (called an ‘attorney’) to give authority to another person (called the ‘donor’) to handle legal affairs and make financial decisions for the donor. It does not extend to making decisions regarding personal care or consent to medical treatment (this is done by making a representation agreement).

It may be limited to certain assets or limited in time.

When does a Power of Attorney take effect?

Immediately upon signing unless it has a specified triggering event, such as incapacity. It ceases on death, if revoked or if the ‘donor’ becomes mentally incapable (unless there is an ‘enduring clause’.)

What is an enduring Power of Attorney?

This type enables the power of attorney to be valid even if the ‘donor’ becomes incapable. This type is useful when used for estate planning.

What is an advance directive?

It is a written statement that expresses a capable person’s wishes in advance. Most widely used is your will.
An advance directive that deals specifically with health and personal care is sometimes called a living will or health care directive. The directive uses medical terms so that doctors and families can interpret it clearly.


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