Powers of Attorney
Motor vehicle accidents often have devastating impacts on their victims, and it is impossible to predict their outcome. Some people get almost back to normal following their accident, whereas some live with debilitating serious personal injuries for the rest of their lives. Even with the best of medical and rehabilitation services, sometimes an injured person cannot fully recover. What if an injured person is unable to care for themselves or handle their financial affairs without assistance?
One of the most important legal documents in that regard is a Power of Attorney (see the Ontario government’s explanation on this site:
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone the power to act on your behalf. There are 2 kinds of Powers of Attorney: personal care and property. The first one lets your Attorney (any person you appoint should be over the age of 18 – highly recommended) make decisions on medical treatments, while the second gives the power to your Attorney to handle your property, or at least a part of your property (e.g. a Power of Attorney over a specific bank account, or one that allows your Attorney to sell a house or a condo on your behalf).
Once this document is signed, your Attorney can potentially act on your behalf until your death. At death, your Will speaks for you and replaced the Power of Attorney. Some Powers of Attorney have clauses that state that your Attorney can only act once a physician has deemed you incapable. However, since Powers of Attorney are often used in emergencies, waiting is not always practical.
If you do not designate an Attorney for property or personal care, and you later lack the mental capacity to deal with your own affairs, it is possible that the Ontario Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee will make the above decisions for you. They will also incur expenses on their administration of your property or health and medical treatments, and there are no assurances that your wishes will be respected.
Who can be designated as POA?
Anyone who is 16 years or above can be an attorney for personal care, while anyone 18 years and above can be an attorney for property.
What is the benefit of a POA?
Choosing your Attorneys for property and personal care is an important decision. Ideally, you would choose someone whom you believe will respect your personal wishes, and be able to properly manage important decisions—be they medical or financial—on your behalf to the best of their abilities. Not having a Power of Attorney can create conflict within a family, where disagreements arise in an emergency, and it becomes difficult to handle your affairs.
Our Ottawa personal injury and accident lawyers are specifically trained to deal with such matters.
If you or someone you care about was injured in an accident, please contact one of our lawyers for a free consultation. We work on a no-fee-until-you-win basis. Call us at 613-315-4878.