Common Questions

When might I need a power of attorney?

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. 
  • Power of Attorney and Representation Agreements, from the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, provides an overview of what a power of attorney is, what is can do, and how to use one.
  • LSLAP Manual: Guardianship, from the UBC Law Students' Legal Advice Program, has a section on power of attorney.

Need more help?

  • Lawyer Referral Service, from the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, offers an initial consultation of up to 30 minutes with a lawyer for $25.

See our related common questions:

Last reviewed March 2017
power of attorney, planning for your future, managing someone else's money