There are many situations where you may be asked to agree to be appointed a Power of Attorney for Property. The most common would be for an elderly parent, grandparent or other relative. This role of attorney for property should not be taken on without the full knowledge of the responsibilities and liabilities that come with this appointment.
A power of attorney for property allows the person acting as attorney to financially stand in the shoes of the person they are acting for. The person acting as attorney can make almost any financial decision on behalf of the person they act for including investment decisions, when to pay bills and when to withdraw funds. A person acting as attorney must act exclusively for the benefit of the person they are acting for and put their own interest aside. A person acting as attorney holds a fiduciary responsibility which may involve personal liability if the attorney is found to have violated that role.
Powers of attorney for property are regulated in Ontario by the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992. The powers and duties of persons acting as attorney’s for property have also been informed by the common law, i.e. cases decided by the courts. In certain prescribed circumstances, a person acting as attorney for property may be asked to account to dependants or the estate trustee, for example, for all of the financial decisions made while they held power of attorney.
If you are considering becoming a Power of Attorney for Property, please contact the author of this blog for assistance and further information.
To reach the author of this blog, Cheryl Letourneau , email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613.232.5773.
Fiduciary: “A person or institution who manages money or property for another and who must exercise a standard of care in such management activity imposed by law or contract. ” – Black’s Law Dictionary