A Power of Attorney (Mandate in Anticipation of Incapacity in Quebec) is a legal document whereby one person (the "donor") gives one or more persons (each an "attorney") the authority to act on his/her behalf, either immediately or at a future time, for example after the donor becomes incapacitated. RBC Wealth Management identifies certain key factors Canadians should take into account before appointing their attorney:
- Your attorney's financial acumen. While no one assumes that a trusted attorney would manage his/her money irresponsibly, if the person in mind is inexperienced in managing finances, he or she may not be as ideal a choice as someone who has financial experience or expertise.
- Your attorney's location and ability to travel. An attorney needs to be able to communicate important and timely decisions. Even with the ease of electronic communications, he or she may be required to travel on short notice if an emergency arises
- Your attorney's age and stage in life. Someone who is already of an advanced age today may not be healthy when you need them to act for you. This person could also be managing a busy career and family for the foreseeable future and may not have the time to dedicate to diligently attend to affairs as may be required.
- Your attorney's organizational skills. Not only will the attorney be responsible for the record keeping pertaining to your POA, they may also have to manage their own POA. If the attorney is responsible, there is a good chance he/she will be equally responsible with yours.
- Your attorney's potential for emotional bias. If your attorney is a relative, the person may have an emotional bias that prevents him or her from carrying out your wishes or have challenges when managing the expectations of other family members. Also, if the attorney is a family member, he or she may be in a potential conflict of interest if the spending for your care will affect his or her potential inheritance.