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Power of attorney: Incapacity planning in British Columbia

There may be times when decisions pertaining to someone's estate have to be made by other than the estate holder. Someone named power of attorney could act in that capacity -- a relative or good family friend. British Columbia residents could name whomever they choose to make decisions for them. For instance, a power of attorney could cash a cheque on behalf of the principal should he or she be out of town.

Many times, however, it is incapacity planning which requires the appointment of a substitute decision-maker. No one likes to think about not being able to make decisions for him or herself, but planning for something that may not happen might be wiser than not having anything in place should something unforeseen take place. Doing so will be less stressful on family members since all decisions made would be in line with the wishes of the person granting the power.

In addition to a power of attorney, individuals could have a representation agreement drawn up to appoint someone to be their legal representative in case of incapacity. Such a person could make personal care or health decisions or manage the principal's finances or see to legal issues. The individual granting the power is at liberty to choose whomever he or she trusts.

Such documents like a power of attorney or a representation agreement are part of wills and estates law in British Columbia. In having a lawyer draw up these documents, estate holders know that all legalities are being executed and that their interests are being looked after.  In the often murky waters of wills and estates law, a lawyer would provide the proper guidance.

Source:, "Substitute Decision-Making and Incapacity Planning", Accessed on Nov. 10, 2017

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