In light of our recent post on a legal dispute involving an Ontario man who was sentenced to jail for stealing from his father, now is a fitting time to discuss estate planning as it relates to powers of attorney and other forms of incapacity planning.
First, to protect yourself and your assets, it is important to know that you can name a trusted person to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. Two kinds of power of attorney can be drafted for this purpose: Attorney for Personal Care and Attorney for Property.
Appointing someone as Attorney for Personal Care means that you give that person the right to make decisions related to your living arrangements, health care and other matters in your daily life.
Appointing someone as Attorney for Property allows that person to make decisions to protect your financial welfare.
Before seeking to appoint someone as Attorney for Property or Attorney for Personal Care, it is important to speak with a lawyer about setting up a power of attorney that will achieve your goals and match your specific situation.
The essential purpose of drafting these documents is to avoid leaving matters to chance or to someone who may not have your best interests and those of your family in mind. These documents can also help eliminate confusion among family members by making your wishes clear.
In the absence of powers of attorney, a family may be forced to go through a court process of establishing guardianship in order to protect a vulnerable loved one.
For more on these matters, please see ourOntario guardianshipoverview.