Everlasting energy of legal professional and private directions throughout COVID-19

Given the current global COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to focus on the importance of personal policy and permanent power of attorney. Having these documents in place will save your family members time, money, and headaches when it comes to financial and health management.

The trifecta of estate planning documents consists of the following elements:

Will personal policy; and permanent power of attorney

Often times, clients focus their estate planning efforts on their will, but permanent powers of attorney and personal briefing are also important documents in ensuring that financial and personal decisions are made the way you want them to be.

Power of attorney

The power of attorney enables the client to authorize a person (the lawyer) to help in financial matters and to make financial decisions on their behalf. For example, the lawyer could:

Pay, cancel or change car insurance; Pay property taxes and other bills from a bank account; Assisting or making investment decisions, including communicating with banks, brokers and financial advisors; List or sell real estate; Hire and pay caregivers or pay the cost of home care. and continue to make support, education, and promotion payments to spouses, children, and adult dependent partners.

The power of attorney can be classified as either a general power of attorney or a permanent power of attorney.

General Power of Attorney: takes effect immediately, but becomes invalid as soon as the donor loses capacity. A general power of attorney is useful for those moving overseas or frequently traveling and needing financial management assistance from someone who is permanent residents of Alberta. Permanent power of attorney: also takes effect immediately and does not expire if the donor loses capacity.

For estate planning purposes, we recommend that our customers execute a permanent power of attorney. This allows a responsible friend or family member acting as an attorney to take care of the donor’s financial affairs if they lose their mental capacity. The Power of Attorney Act prescribes the requirements and functions of this powerful tool.

A donor can also indicate that the permanent power of attorney will be given at some point in the future or when an event such as B. an intellectual disability, comes into force. If caused by mental incapacity, two doctors must declare mental incapacity in order to exercise authority. This is the default position and can be changed.

What if a person loses capacity and a family member needs to assist them with their financial affairs? The family member must apply to be appointed as a trustee under the Adult Guardianship and Trustee Act. This is a process that must be carried out in the Court of Queen’s Bench and which usually involves a lawyer. This can be costly, time consuming, and potentially controversial. We recommend a permanent power of attorney to help people in difficult times when a family member is unable to work.

Personal policy

A personal policy is sometimes referred to as a “living will”. It deals with managing health care decisions; It is strictly for non-financial decisions. The personal policy allows the customer (the manufacturer) to appoint someone to make health care decisions on their behalf.

Personal guidelines are usually used in end-of-life decisions. However, there are a variety of other healthcare decisions that can be made under a personal policy, including:

Accommodation-related decisions such as removing the manufacturer from a care facility; Social and educational activities in which the manufacturer can participate; and decisions about who the manufacturer should live with.

A personal policy only comes into effect when the manufacturer loses capacity. It no longer has any effect when the manufacturer regains its capacity. The personal policy generally requires that 2 service providers declare that the manufacturer has lost capacity (one of the service providers must be a doctor or a psychologist).

What if a family member loses capacity but doesn’t have a personal policy? Similar to when a person does not have a power of attorney, a person must apply to the court for a guardianship order to make decisions about the health care of the disabled family member.

Creating a Comprehensive Estate Plan During COVID-19

The power of attorney and personal policy documents are critical to proper estate planning. If a family member becomes incapacitated and these documents are not in place, a court order is required to resolve their personal and financial affairs. At the best of times, this is a difficult and expensive process. The COVID-19 health crisis only made things more complicated. Access to court is limited and uncertain. When the court is up and running again, it will have a significant backlog of cases. The best approach is to create a comprehensive estate plan with a permanent power of attorney and personal briefing to avoid the hassle and cost of a trial.

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