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What Should You Know about Power of Attorney?
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For most of your life, you can make your own decisions regarding your finances and property. But there may come a time, either through mental incapacity or your absence from the country, when you’ll need someone to step in and help you out. If that happens, you’ll want to be prepared. And one way of doing so is by establishing a Power of Attorney (POA).
A General POA (sometimes called an Ordinary POA) allows your representative to manage your finances and property only while you are mentally capable. You can name a General POA for a limited task, such as selling a house, or for a specific time period, such as when you’re out of the country. For example, if you are a regular snowbird who leaves Canada during the winter, you might find it beneficial to name a General POA.
By contrast, an Enduring or Continuing POA lets your representative act for you if you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage your finances and property. An Enduring or Continuing POA can take effect when you sign it or, if you choose, only when you become mentally incapable.
It’s essential to choose the right person to act as your POA. You could pick your spouse, a grown child, another relative or even a close friend, but whoever you select, make sure it’s someone you trust, who understands your values and who will always act in your best financial and legal interests.
It’s not hard to create a POA – in fact, you can download the forms from the Internet, although you may also want to consult with a legal professional. And even it’s never needed, a POA can be a valuable asset. Put one to work soon.