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Power of attorney in British Columbia can be a confusing role

At times, adult children are asked by their parents to undertake things for which they're unprepared. No one likes to think about the death of his or her parents. But being named power of attorney in British Columbia is a role for which many children are unprepared and one which merits much forethought. 

The Baby Boomer generation continues to age, and with that, their children are often called upon to look after things like finances. This is likely when the power of attorney talks happen. Acting as power of attorney isn't always a cut and dry job, and should something go wrong, there can be dire consequences, and litigation could ensue.

Many things can come into play in a power of attorney situation. If dealing with blended families, the division of a parent's estate may involve children and step children. That means the child(ren) named power of attorney will have to work even more diligently to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Abusing the duties of power of attorney is a serious problem and allegation. But after a parent or grandparent has died, the power of attorney is often accused of acting inappropriately by some family members. They may be less than happy with what they have been left. 

A power of attorney is often asked to make decisions on behalf of an elderly or incapacitated relative, and those decisions can have a bearing on his or her inheritance and the inheritance of others. For instance, if grandpa's will states one granddaughter is to get his house while her sister gets cash, the will could come into question, and one benefactor could come out with more than another. That could cause strife even though grandpa's wishes were carried out as stated in his will.

People who have been asked to become a power of attorney are well advised to discuss the role with a British Columbia lawyer experienced in wills and estates law. It is better to have questions regarding the legalities of the position answered prior to agreeing to take on the task. Being prepared for the role is better than taking it on without any information.

Source:, "Power of attorney can get messy", Accessed on Sept. 1, 2017

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