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Who can be named under an enduring power of attorney?

Under certain circumstances, the need for using an enduring power of attorney may arise. The process may not be as complicated as some British Columbia residents may think. In fact, just about anyone qualifies for the role including a relative or a friend who is at least 19 years old and who is trustworthy, willing and informed about the role. The exceptions include caregivers who receive pay for their services at the individual's residence. However, if that caregiver is the individual's parent, spouse or adult child, that person qualifies to act under an enduring power of attorney. Furthermore, an individual may choose a credit union or a trust company to be his or her attorney-in-fact, but arrangements should be made for compensation.

The person selected as attorney-in-fact should agree to bear particular responsibilities and follow certain legal requirements. He or she must fully understand the position, especially if the individual becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. Some of the attorney-n-fact's duties include obeying the set of laws as outlined in the Trustee Act when investing assets, keeping track of assets for accounting purposes and distinguishing personal assets from the grantor's assets.

The attorney-in-fact must act with prudence in diligently, skillfully and carefully following the rules and restrictions involved in the document. The law does not allow an attorney-in-fact to alter or make a will. If the attorney-in-fact desires to create or change beneficiary designations, he or she must follow certain restrictions.

Those who wish to use an enduring power of attorney may wish to consult a lawyer who is experienced in the legalities and details surrounding the position. If a person chooses a credit union or a trust company to act as his or her attorney-in-fact, a lawyer may assist with the various legal requirements that may apply.

Source: The Public Guardian and Truste, "It's your choice: Personal Planning Tools", October 09, 2014

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