You can give someone power of attorney if you are...
- are at least 18 years of age
- have the capacity to understand the nature and effect of the document
You can appoint someone as your attorney if they are...
- at least 18 years of age
- able to understand information relevant to making decisions that they are authorized to make under the power of attorney
- able to appreciate the consequences of making or not making decisions that they are authorized to make under the power of attorney
There are certain people who cannot be appointed to act under a power of attorney...
- A person who is an undischarged bankrupt cannot be appointed to deal with your financial affairs under a power of attorney.
- People who have been convicted, within the last ten years, of a criminal offence relating to assault, sexual assault, other acts of violence, intimidation, criminal harassment, uttering threats, theft, fraud or breach of trust cannot be appointed unless they have been pardoned or the grantor consents in writing. The consent must acknowledge the conviction and be made while the grantor is still mentally competent.
- A person whose occupation or business involves providing personal care or health care services to you cannot be appointed as your attorney.
When deciding who to appoint it is important to consider what kind of decisions you are authorizing them to make and in what circumstances.
Other than these restrictions, you can name anyone you choose as your attorney. It should be someone you trust. It can be a relative, friend, lawyer, or an officer of a bank or trust company. The person you choose can refuse to take on the responsibility, so it is important to discuss the matter with them first.
You may want to consider appointing two or more attorneys. You can set it up so that one can act if the other is unavailable, or you can require them to make all decisions jointly. You can also appoint an alternate or successive power of attorney. Naming more than one power of attorney can act as a type of checks and balances, but it can also lead to disputes and delays.