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Educate yourself about powers of attorney in British Columbia

Whether you are creating an estate plan or been named to fill a role in another person's estate, you will benefit from understanding some of the tools people include in their plans. One of these tools is a power of attorney. This document gives a person the power to make important decisions on behalf of another person.

While powers of attorney for British Columbia residents can be very specific or more generalized, it is crucial to learn the rules that govern such documents. For example, most anyone can be given power of attorney over another including a friend, a relative, a lawyer or an advisor. Exceptions to this include anyone who receives pay to provide you with health or personal care. You also may not grant power of attorney to a non-relative who works at a facility through which you receive care.

If you plan to include real estate matters in your power of attorney, you might want to speak with a lawyer first. The Land Title Act mandates compliance with a specific set of rules. For example, in most cases the document is only valid for three years after the signing date. A lawyer can also advise you about the different powers of attorney and which one is right for your needs.

You should also be aware that the laws governing powers of attorney in British Columbia underwent several changes in 2011. If you had a power of attorney drawn up before then, you should probably have it reviewed by a legal professional. As a matter of fact, it is always a good idea to review your estate planning documents periodically and seek advice from a lawyer if you decide to make changes.

Source: The Canadian Bar Association, "Powers Of Attorney And Representation Agreements," accessed March 22, 2016

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