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A discussion on enduring powers of attorney

Some residents of British Columbia who might be creating an estate plan may be interested to learn about the enduring powers of attorney. These allow a person to appoint another party to act on his or her behalf while completing certain functions, and this appointment differs from a regular power of attorney because the authority to act continues even if the granter is incapacitated.

In order for a the power of attorney to continue after a person is deemed incapable, certain provisions must be included in the document. These include whether the powers are only transferred if the granter is incapable or if the powers are granted even though he or she can still make decisions for himself or herself. It must also state that the authority is still granted despite the person's incapacitation. In addition, according to provincial statutes, the document must be signed in the presence of two witnesses.

In order to authorize an enduring power of attorney, a person must be an adult, which means that he or she is 19 years old or older. That person must also be deemed capable under British Columbia statutes. All adults are deemed capable unless it can be demonstrated that the opposite is true. However, a person's way of communicating with other parties cannot be used as grounds suggesting incapability.

While some of the basics are discussed in this article, the requirements for making an enforceable enduring power of attorney document are subject to a number of other stipulations outlined in the provincial code, and drafting such documents without retaining the services of a legal professional might be difficult. A lawyer who is familiar with estate planning strategies could help a client develop an enforceable enduring power of attorney and might help draft other documents that outline the client's wishes.

Source: BCLaws.ca, "Power of Attorney Act", July 31, 2014

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