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Power of attorney needed when incapacitated

While the law doesn't require you to have a power of attorney in place, it may be a good idea to have someone legally named so that if something happens and you can't make decisions for yourself, you have someone you trust looking out for your best interests. The term "attorney" means a person or persons you have chosen to act on your behalf. This person need not be a lawyer, just someone you trust.

If you become mentally incapable, which means that your capacity to understand your own needs is diminished, you need to have a power of attorney in place.

The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee are the backbone of this action. This office can assist you in putting a power of attorney in place. There are many rules of law that apply so getting a lawyer involved early on may be a good idea.

Lots of people are under the impression that if something happens to them and they cannot make decisions on their own, their relatives will be able to perform these tasks on their behalf. This is not necessarily true, because, for financial decisions, legal authority is needed. You can get these issues taken care of when you are unable to by naming someone in a continuing power of attorney for property.

There is also a power of attorney for personal care. This covers what you eat and where you live; things like this.

If you don't have a power of attorney in place, the court will make the decision for you and you may not agree with the judge's choice. Talking this over with a lawyer has experience in this realm can make a big difference at this time.

Source: Ministry of the Attorney General, "Power of attorney," accessed Dec. 15, 2015

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