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. 
  • 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. It answers basic questions such as when does it come into effect, when does it end, can I revoke it.

Need more help?

  • Legal Programs, from Seniors First BC, offers free legal consultations for seniors age 55+ (with low-income or other barriers) at select locations in Metro Vancouver once a month.
  • Phone Appointments, from Nidus, can help you determine which personal planning documents fit your situation. Appointments are 25 minutes for a modest fee.
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, offers an initial consultation of up to 30 minutes with a lawyer for $25.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

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Last reviewed August 2018
tags
power of attorney, planning for your future, managing someone else's money, EPA, POA