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Get answers to your questions about Enduring Power of Attorney

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a signed and witnessed document that gives another person authority to deal with property (land, bank accounts, etc.) on your behalf if you suffer a loss of capacity. This document only deals with financial matters.

Why should I sign it now?

An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to handle your financial affairs while you are unable to do so. If you do not have an existing Enduring Power of Attorney, your accounts could be frozen, pending a court application to appoint a trustee. An Enduring Power of Attorney must be made when you are in good mental health.

Do you have to be in good mental health when you sign an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Yes.

Why should I have an enduring Power of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney allow you to control what decisions are made, how they are made, when they are made, and who will make them. If you have no Enduring Power of Attorney and you lose the capacity to make your own financial decisions, it will be necessary for the Court to appoint a trustee, under the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act, to make those decisions.   This means personal information used in the court application will become a part of the public record, the applicant will incur significant legal costs, and important financial decisions could be made by someone you would not have appointed.

Are the appointment and instructions legally binding?

Yes. An Enduring Power of Attorney is recognized by Alberta law in the Powers of Attorney Act and is valid and legally binding.

Can I put restrictions on the authority of my attorney?

You can restrict the Attorney's authority to specific assets, a set period of time, or to certain actions / transactions. However, there are powers that an Attorney is given by law which may or may not be able to be restricted or revoked. If you put no restrictions on the authority of your Attorney, then your Attorney will be able to access all your assets and may do anything that you would lawfully be able to do, provided your Attorney is acting in good faith (with the belief that the action will be in your best interest).

Who should witness my Enduring Power of Attorney?

Your signature on the Enduring Power of Attorney must be witnessed by at least one adult who is not your spouse and who is not designated as your agent under your Enduring Power of Attorney.

When does my Enduring Power of Attorney come into effect?

The document can take effect immediately or at a specific time / event in the future. What makes an Enduring Power of Attorney different from a regular power of attorney is that it comes into effect or continues (if you had yours be immediately effective) when you become physically or mentally incapacitated. Physical or mental incapacity will automatically revoke a power of attorney unless the document specifically states that it is supposed to continue. When you die, the powers granted in the Enduring Power of Attorney cease.

How can I revoke My Enduring Power of Attorney?

You can revoke your Enduring Power of Attorney in writing at any time provided that you are mentally capable.

Where Should I Keep Copies of My Enduring Power of Attorney? 

Your original Enduring Power of Attorney should be stored in a place where it is safe, but can be easily found.   Many people give copies to their attorney (the person you appoint in the document), their doctor(s), and their next of kin. Copies may also be given to financial advisors, lawyers, friends or anyone else who might have any decision-making capacity on your behalf. You should also write the location of your original Enduring Power of Attorney on the copy given to your attorney.

Yes, I have legal questions about Power of Attorney

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