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Common Questions

When might I need a power of attorney?

Last reviewed in October 2021 by the Clicklaw Editors.

A power of attorney is a legal document that appoints another person to make financial and legal decisions for you. This might include paying bills, depositing or withdrawing money from your bank account, investing your money, or selling your house. The person you give this power to is called the attorney.

There are many reasons people make a power of attorney. One reason is because they are physically unable to look after their affairs due to travel or injury. Another reason people often make a power of attorney is in case they become "mentally incapable" due to illness, disease or accident.

Good starting points include:

  • Power of Attorney, from People's Law School, discusses the different kinds of powers of attorney and when you might use one. It outlines what is involved in creating a power of attorney and in exercising a power of attorney. 
  • Enduring Power of Attorney Factsheet, from Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry, provides an overview of Enduring Power of Attorney as a tool for financial and legal planning. It provides examples and answers basic questions such as when does it come into effect, when does it end, can I revoke it.

Need more help?

  • Personal Help, from Nidus, provides free information, assistance, and practical tips on personal planning by phone or email to seniors and people in long-term care.
  • Seniors' Legal Clinics, from Seniors First BC, offers free legal consultations for seniors age 55+ (with low-income or other barriers).
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from Access Pro Bono, offers a free, brief initial consultation with a lawyer to determine your legal needs. If you would like further help from your lawyer, you can retain them at an agreeable rate of charge.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

power of attorney, planning for your future, managing someone else's money, EPA, POA