Appointing someone under an enduring power of attorney means authorizing a person (usually a family member or friend) to make financial decisions and transactions on your behalf if you become mentally incapacitated. It is a wise precaution and one everyone, especially seniors, should seriously consider. If you have elderly parents and they haven’t yet begun to think about appointing an enduring power of attorney, you should begin discussing the subject with them. Here’s what you need to know.
What is mental incapacity in legal terms? According to the Ministry of the Attorney General, “mental incapacity is when someone cannot understand relevant information or cannot appreciate what may happen as a result of decisions they make — or do not make — about their finances, health or personal care.” It is common for seniors to find themselves — sometimes suddenly and unexpectedly — mentally incapacitated as a result of age-related cognitive decline. It’s estimated that around half a million Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia — conditions that reliably diminish a person’s mental capacities. And this number is expected to more than double within 25 years. What happens when mental incapacity becomes an issue? If a person has not appointed an enduring power of attorney and they develop a condition like Alzheimer’s, it becomes too late for them to take this step. This is invariably a complicated situation. Generally, a family member or friend will need to go to court to become their trustee. This is time-consuming (it usually takes about three to six months) and costly. Note that a person can revoke a power of attorney at any time, so long as they are mentally competent. What is the process for signing enduring power of attorney? While one may write an enduring power of attorney document for him or herself, very few people choose to do so, unless they have a legal background. The writer needs to be versed in this area of the law and the document needs to be carefully worded. The addition of a certificate of legal advice will help prevent any challenges to the validity of the enduring power of attorney. This is why a wills and probate lawyer is generally hired for this task. A full-service law firm in Calgary If you are looking for a skilled wills and probate lawyer in Calgary, to make an enduring power of attorney agreement for you or a loved one, reach out to us at First West Law LLP. We are full-service law firm. Whether you need a personal injury lawyer, a wills and probate lawyer, or a real estate lawyer, reach out to our legal team in Calgary today.