Power of attorney is commonly referenced when discussing estate matters but it’s a topic that can cause confusion. More often than not, a power of attorney gives another person the authority to act on your behalf regarding financial matters should you become incapacitated.
In British Columbia, patients who are nearing the natural end of their lives or suffer from a life-limiting or life threatening illness have the right to create a No Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (No CPR) form.
Aging is inevitable. And one of the wisest, yet most overlooked things British Columbia residents can do to protect their finances as the years march on is to make sure they have a power of attorney in place. It is best to be prepared for the unforeseen, like not being able to make financial decisions due to incapacity or illness and having a document in place that specifies who will have power of attorney in such circumstances.
When people ask others to make decisions on their behalves, they are likely to choose people they trust. Selecting someone to have medical power of attorney (POA) in British Columbia gives that individual the authority to make decisions regarding health care for the person granting the power. In addition to health care, some of the decisions covered by a POA can be about nutrition, housing, hygiene, general safety and even clothing.
Those who take the time to write their estate plans more than likely give special consideration to whom they choose for specific tasks. Giving someone the responsibilities documented within a power of attorney places great trust in that individual not to take advantage of what could be a very volatile financial situation. It is surprising how many people who are formally given this role in British Columbia and all across Canada abuse it, and very often those who do are adult children.
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.
Someone who is chosen to oversee a person's affairs should they need help or when they can't do it themselves is usually chosen because that person is trusted. In British Columbia, there have been instances, however, when someone who has been named power of attorney has abused that trust and has done things that could be considered fraudulent. There are things that can be done if abuse is suspected.
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 elderly are often prime targets to take advantage of, so they need to have protection from being potential prey to unscrupulous financial abusers. British Columbia's aging citizens become more vulnerable to financial abuse the older they get. However, there are safeguards these trusting souls can put into place to prevent a financial disaster, one of which is a power of attorney.
When most people in British Columbia think about estate planning, they probably focus on what will happen to their assets after they pass away. Some especially astute men and women may also recognize the value of granting power of attorney to a trusted loved one in case they lose the ability to make decisions for themselves later in life. However, having a power of attorney can pay dividends at any time and any age should something unexpected happen.