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“Medical” power of attorney and estate planning in Ontario

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2018 | Estate Planning

When someone is given a “medical” power of attorney (power of Attorney for Personal Care), the individual appointed as the attorney can make medical decisions on behalf of the person who granted that authority. The attorney for personal care can make decisions about such matters as the person’s health care, living situation, hygiene, nutrition, clothing and safety.

power of Attorney for Personal Care is usually executed during an estate planning process.  

When naming an Attorney for Personal Care, one must ensure that the directions given to the attorney are clear and sufficiently detailed to provide proper guidelines. Many people provide their Attorneys for Personal Care with detailed descriptions of their wishes but many people don’t. Matters such as the level of medical intervention and administration of life support measures must be addressed. Otherwise, the person making these crucial decisions will be left without any guidelines.

power of Attorney for Personal Care gives the appointed Attorney for Personal Care a lot of legal rights to the extent that the Attorney for Personal Care may even be able to override a physician’s decision. Therefore, it is extremely important to choose someone trusted and compassionate for the task is not an easy one. 

The laws of each province and territory in Canada govern the matters of execution of powers of attorney documents and the authorities and obligations of attorneys for property and personal care.

The laws change from one province to another. It is therefore very important when moving from one province to another to obtain legal advice from an estate lawyer practicing in the new province of residence.  It is very important that all the estate planning documents, including power of Attorney for Personal Care, are reviewed to determine if any revisions are needed to meet the applicable legal requirements.  

Source: findlaw.ca, “If I give someone a medical power of attorney what decisions can they make on my behalf?“, Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Feb. 2, 2018


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