Accidents and illnesses strike people no matter their age. When people are considering how to handle their estates and assets, they may also consider having plans in place if they become unable to make decisions for themselves or handle their own affairs. This can be an important consideration for all individuals who are over the age of 18.
Individuals in British Columbia who are in the midst of estate planning should keep in mind that doing so is about more than just making a will or even setting up a trust. Estate planning also involves an individual's preparation for a future in which they may not be able to make legal, financial and medical decisions. Appointing someone to handle these types of decisions may involve arranging for someone to have enduring power of attorney.
Under certain circumstances, the need for using an enduring power of attorney may arise. The process may not be as complicated as some British Columbia residents may think. In fact, just about anyone qualifies for the role including a relative or a friend who is at least 19 years old and who is trustworthy, willing and informed about the role. The exceptions include caregivers who receive pay for their services at the individual's residence. However, if that caregiver is the individual's parent, spouse or adult child, that person qualifies to act under an enduring power of attorney. Furthermore, an individual may choose a credit union or a trust company to be his or her attorney-in-fact, but arrangements should be made for compensation.
Residents in British Columbia may benefit from understanding more about how power of attorney is handled in the province. Power of attorney can be described as documentation that appoints another person, referred to as an attorney, authority over making legal or financial decisions concerning someone's assets or business interests. The most recent Power of Attorney Act, enacted in B.C. on Sept. 1, 2011, made changes regarding the enduring powers of attorney.
Some residents of British Columbia who might be creating an estate plan may be interested to learn about the enduring powers of attorney. These allow a person to appoint another party to act on his or her behalf while completing certain functions, and this appointment differs from a regular power of attorney because the authority to act continues even if the granter is incapacitated.
The laws regarding power of attorney changed in British Columbia on Sept. 1, 2011. While any power of attorney documents prior to this date are still valid in most cases, it is advisable to have a lawyer review the documents to ensure that they do not need to be updated. Any powers of attorney signed after Sept. 1, 2011, need to adhere to the current laws.