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Power of attorney applicable to younger Canadians too

Earlier this month we wrote a post about when a capacity assessment might be needed. In that post we mentioned that the assessment could be necessary when an individual fails to plan ahead for mental incapacity and eventually finds himself unable to look after his own affairs.

By executing properly worded power of attorney, people can determine ahead of time how their personal care and property needs will be addressed should they become unable to look after their own affairs.

While incapacity often relates to old age, seniors are not the only individuals, who might find that they need someone else to make the decisions for them.

Many people, who suffer from mental disoders that, from legal perspective, does not make them mentally imcompetent are completely unable to manage their personal affairs. For these people, regardless of their age, entrusting management of their personal finances to a trusted family member or friend is the appropriate solution.

For example, a person suffering from a bipolar diseased, while generally mentally competent, when in manic phase, may end up making very impulsive, imprudent financial decisions that could lead to significant issues.  

As in case of seniors, power of attorney or legal guardianship could be an option for younger people diagnosed with a number of mental illnesses such as bipolar disease, schizophrenia or even depression.

Power of attorney could be provided in situations where someone is deemed to have mental capacity to provide consent. When someone is no longer of capacity, legal guardianship would be an option.

In situations where power of attorney is appropriate, it is important to work quickly to get plans in place. For assistance in determining,  who should be named to make decisions regarding financial welfare or living arrangements, an estate planning attorney can be of assistance. While these professionals are often sought only in the context of determining how one's assets will be distributed on death, they can also provide additional services and counsel concerning proper use of power of attorney.

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