Garton & Harris

Is it possible to act as power of attorney long distance?

As children grow up and build their own families and careers, it is not uncommon for some to set down roots in a different place than their parents. Parents, too, could choose to retire in a different location than their children reside; for example, perhaps they wish to retire to a quiet community on the coast of British Columbia, or somewhere else relaxing. While these are perfectly understandable decisions, they can become complicated when it comes to estate planning and power of attorney management.While it is possible to act as a caregiver from a distance, there are many challenges that can result from this endeavour.

The large majority of caregivers for elderly family members are carrying a full-time job. They may also have other dependants, like children, to care for. For this reason, acting as a power of attorney can be a big job - even when people reside close to one another. Adding distance can add to the stress, though it can be managed if the workload is shared among others. Trusted individuals, resources and support near the person who is being cared for can very much help these circumstances.

Along with building a support network, those using a power of attorney in this situation should take a close look at the legal and financial issues that may emerge. Whether one is near or far, managing affairs that are organized is significantly easier than those that are scattered.  Making copies of key documents so they can be referenced regardless of the power of attorney's location is a good best practice.

There are many ways families make caregiving work in spite of a potential distance. While it may seem overwhelming, the right support can make it possible to act as power of attorney even when not in the same exact city or town. To prepare for this potentiality, and understand the support that one may need, it is a good idea for all parties meet with a  British Columbia lawyer early on in the planning process.

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