If you're unable to make decisions for yourself, having granted a continuing power of attorney to someone you trust can simplify your financial affairs. Just as a will provides for management of an estate after death, a continuing power of attorney can provide for management of your affairs if you're incapacitated.
Types of attorney
There are two basic types of power of attorney.
- Financial — a continuing power of attorney for property allows your attorney to manage your finances and property, including pension-related matters, if you become mentally incapable.
- Personal care — an attorney for personal care makes medical and other decisions about your well-being and quality of life on your behalf if you aren't able to make them yourself.
Three things to consider
You don't have to designate a continuing power of attorney, but here are three reasons why you should:
- You're ensuring decisions made on your behalf are made by someone who you know and trust.
- It's a simple process and you can do it at any time. Wills and powers of attorney are often drawn up at the same time.
- You'll reduce red tape by having a validated continuing power of attorney on file with us. If you become mentally incapable and this is a condition specified in the document, all we'll need is a doctor's confirmation of incapacity to allow your designated attorney to take charge of your pension on your behalf.
For more information regarding powers of attorney:
- Check out the Government of Canada website at "What every older Canadian should know about powers of attorney (for financial matters and property) and joint bank accounts". Among other things, this resource explains the advantages and disadvantages of a power of attorney designation.
- Review the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General's Power of Attorney Kit for details on how you can designate an attorney.