If you are anticipating a significant lifestyle change later in life, it may be time to consider placing a power of attorney (POA) to help manage your healthcare and financial decisions. A POA is a legal document that tasks a trusted person or loved one to make important decisions you’re unable to make. They can carry as much or as little power designated to them as you wish. Although a POA doesn’t have to be managed by a professional lawyer, it is still highly recommended that they are put in charge of it because of their years of experience and knowledge.
At Duensing Law, our legal team will provide you with helpful information and support to ensure your financial and healthcare decisions are being met. We will work with you to ensure your estate, assets, and resources, and being properly handled and distributed in case you’re unable to make any sound judgements. Contact our lead wills and succession planning lawyer in Toronto Matthias Duensing today to get started on a comprehensive power of attorney plan.
Power of attorney documents can be used to effectively manage some of your daily affairs in case you’re unable to anymore. However, having a POA is different from finalizing a last will for your family. There are some nuances you should keep in mind before going through with it.
Does A Power Of Attorney Overrule A Will?
In most cases, a power of attorney cannot override a will because it is a different functioning legal document than a last will. The latter is a document that allows you to decide who will inherit your assets after you pass on. The person named in your power of attorney can only manage your financial and healthcare affairs while you are still alive and cannot write a will for you. As the testator, it is your responsibility to select your heirs and what they each will receive. Overall, the responsibility of creating a will is solely between you and the lawyer drafting the legal document.
A power of attorney can be given specific or limited authority over your daily affairs for a period of time. For example, the person named in the POA also cannot add more people to the agreement or make beneficiaries on your life insurance without your consent. They will still have some authority over some of your finance and property, but you can set the terms and agreements before finalizing a POA. Nonetheless, a final legal will often takes priority when it’s time to settle your assets.
The power of attorney can be started as soon as you sign it, or you can mark a specific date to have it begin on. That being said, it’s still important you work with a professional succession lawyer to create a final will as well.
Do I Need A Power Of Attorney If I Have Already Created A Will?
The term of a power of attorney ends when you die and you will still need a will to determine how your assets and resources will be handled and distributed.
A will expresses your final wishes for your estate and has no legal effect while you are still living. Meanwhile, a power of attorney can only work before you die. Most people will often create both a will and power of attorney at the same time to ensure their finances, properties, and health care needs are secure.
The authority granted by a power of attorney may be exercised at any time, but is generally used by a designated person to administer your affairs if you have become compromised or are traveling. A final will is very often the final word on your part on who is given what and how the deceased wants their remaining assets to be given away.
Overall, it’s highly recommended you create a will, even if you already have a power of attorney in place. The designated person under that POA cannot determine the terms of your will; something of which only you and your lawyer will have the responsibility to finalize.
Does A Power Of Attorney Need To Be Notarized in Ontario?
Different provinces have different rules and regulations about notarizing legal documents like a power of attorney. For example, Ontario has no requirements for your power of attorney to be notarized by an authorized person. If you have fulfilled and followed all the correct guidelines for signing and conditions of witnessing, the power of attorney is deemed legal and you can finalize it in writing.
Having a power of attorney in place for your life is a big decision, as well as creating a final will for your loved ones. Contact Duensing Law today to schedule an appointment and consultation on how we can help you create both legal documents. We want to help you secure a sound financial future for your loved ones and reflect your best wishes before you pass on.
Please email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us directly at (416) 601-4769 for more information on how we can provide assistance.