Powers of Attorney
TORONTO ESTATE LAWYERS ADVISING ON POWER OF ATTORNEY MATTERS
A person who is granted authority over someone’s finances or personal affairs through a power of attorney is known as either an attorney for property or an attorney for personal care (depending on the scope of their decision-making authority). They are also commonly referred to as substitute decision-makers.
A substitute decision maker’s responsibility arises when the individual whose affairs they are appointed to look after (i.e. the grantor) is no longer capable of doing so themselves.
Power of Attorney for Property
A power of attorney for property can be used to transfer decision-making authority about someone’s legal and financial affairs. It allows someone to name a trusted individual (most often a family member or friend, but sometimes a lawyer) to make decisions about important matters including decisions about their finances (investments, banking, etc.), their home (paying the mortgage, paying the bills, upkeep and maintenance, etc.) and other important possessions and assets. The attorney makes such decisions once the person who appointed them is no longer able to do so themselves.
Powers of attorney for property can also be used in other circumstances, including when someone is on an extended vacation or trip out of the country and requires someone to sign important paperwork or make important decisions for them in their absence.
Power of Attorney for Personal Care
A power of attorney for personal care can be used to transfer decision-making authority about someone’s health care and other personal care.
When the person who appointed the attorney is no longer able to make decisions about things like medication, treatment, etc., the attorney acts as their proxy and makes those decisions on their behalf.
Appointing a Power of Attorney
Both an attorney for property and an attorney for personal care have immense responsibility and decision-making authority. It is critical to be very careful in choosing who to appoint as an attorney.
An unwisely-chosen attorney can negatively impact the grantor and their assets. In some cases, attorneys do not have sufficient experience or knowledge to make the decisions require; in other cases, attorneys use their power and authority inappropriately and make decisions that are not in the best interest of the grantor.
An inappropriately-chosen attorney can be disastrous, whether they are acting purposely against the interests of the grantor, or whether they innocently make errors due to inexperience.
Common Power of Attorney Disputes that May Arise
Given the significant power and responsibility that an attorney has, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise. Some commonly occurring disputes include:
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Challenges to the validity of a power of attorney
- Elder abuse
- Passing of accounts
- Undue influence or duress
If you are the family member, friend, or loved one of a grantor and are concerned about their choice of attorney, or are concerned about some of the decisions that are being made by the attorney, the Toronto estate lawyers at Derfel Estate Law can help. We advise on all aspects of estate disputes, including disputes over power of attorney matters.
For Proactive Guidance and Advice on Power of Attorney Matters, Contact the Estate Litigators at Derfel Estate Law
At Derfel Estate Law, our Toronto estate litigation lawyers can help you protect the financial, health, and personal interests of your loved ones. We provide strategic and compassionate advice and will take the time to thoroughly understand your specific concerns and desired outcome, and will act accordingly, while making sure all relevant parties are protected throughout the process. Call us at 416-847-3580 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.