Choosing who will act for you

The most important decision you will make when preparing a power of attorney is who to appoint as your attorney.

4 tips for choosing an attorney

1. Choose someone you know well

They should be someone who you’re reasonably sure will carry out your wishes and manage your affairs properly. A family member or close friend may be a good choice because of your close connection with them.

2. Make sure they meet the requirements

  • Continuing power of attorneyPower of attorney A written authorization for another person to make financial and health care decisions for you if you are not able. Rules vary from province to province.+ read full definition for property – can be anyone who is age 18 or older.
  • Power of attorney for personal care – must be at least 16 years old. You cannot appoint anyone you pay for your health care, including therapy, home care, or for your living arrangements (for example, your landlord), unless they are a spouse or relative.

3. Consider appointing more than 1 attorney

It may be appropriate to appoint joint attorneys, particularly if you are choosing between your children and the choice is likely to be contentious. They can all make decisions jointly on your behalf, or you can give them specific roles. For example, for a power of attorney for personal care, one person could make health-care decisions and another might look after living arrangements for you.

4. Appoint a backup

You can have one primary person and appoint others as backups if your first choice is unavailable or unable to act on your behalf.

A lawyer or trusteeTrustee A person or company that you appoint to manage the assets of a trust. You can name more than one trustee.+ read full definition can also be your attorney

Consider making your lawyer or a trust companyTrust company A company that offers the same services as a bank, but can also manage estates, trusts and pension plans, which banks cannot do.+ read full definition your attorney or one of your joint attorneys. Their expertise could be helpful in managing some or all of your affairs.

4 key points

  1. Choose someone you know well as your attorney
  2. Make sure they meet legal requirements
  3. Consider choosing more than 1 attorney
  4. Name a backup
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