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What is a power of attorney?

If you are thinking about putting a will in place to protect your assets and property when you can no longer be here to do it, you may want to think about putting a power of attorney in place also. There are two different types: a regular power of attorney and an enduring power of attorney.

A power of attorney and an enduring power of attorney are similar in that they both are governed by the Power of Attorney Act of British Columbia. Both can be used to appoint a person to be your "attorney" if you are not able to make decisions for yourself.

The EPA and the POA cover legal and financial situations that may come up. You would need an additional document for medical or personal matters. You can make them as broad or as narrow as you want by making tasks and dates more specific. An EPA would need to be fairly broad because this is the one that will be used when you are completely incapacitated.

You will need to have an attorney sign your document in order for it to be legal and stand up in a court of law. The Land Title Act covers real estate and if there is property involved, you will need to register this document at the Land Title Office.

The Power of Attorney Act in British Columbia states that a POA automatically terminates after three years unless specific language is included. It also states that a POA is effective for you if you are mentally capable and ends immediately after you are judged to be incapable. Many people use a POA when they will be traveling in order to ensure your property is well taken care of.

Source: Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry, "?Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney? Which one do I make? ?," accessed July 14, 2015

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