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Creating a Power of Attorney - Signing Requirements

You may want to consult a lawyer about making a power of attorney document. A lawyer can help ensure that you understand the effect of a power of attorney and help you consider what powers to include. They can also ensure that certain safeguards are in place. You can also prepare the document yourself.

There are different requirements for creating a power of attorney depending on the type of appointment being made. A non-enduring power of attorney should be in writing and signed by you. The attorney does not need to sign the document.

An enduring power of attorney must clearly state that you want it to continue if you lose capacity.

If you want the power of attorney to be enduring (continue even if you later lack capacity) there are additional requirements. The document must be in writing and be signed and dated by you. The document must also be witnessed. It can be witnessed by a lawyer who has given you legal advice on the document. Alternatively it can be witnessed by two adults with capacity. The witnesses cannot be the attorney being appointed or a family member of either the attorney or yourself. Witnesses must complete a witness certificate in the form required by the legislation.

If you meet the requirements described, it is not necessary to use any particular form although you may choose to use one of the forms included in the legislation for an enduring power of attorney. The forms can be found on saskatchewan.ca.

During the current State of Emergency due to the Covid-19 outbreak, an Enduring Power of Attorney may be witnessed using electronic means, such as Skype or Zoom, if certain conditions are met. This type of witnessing is allowed if…

  • the document is witnessed by a lawyer, and
  • the grantor and the lawyer can see and hear each other at all times.

This type of witnessing is also allowed outside of a State of Emergency if the grantor is under a public health order that…

  • requires them to remain in quarantine or isolation, or
  • restricts their travel.

Lawyers will use the usual witness form that is required under The Power of Attorney Regulations.

The Law Society of Saskatchewan has set out other requirements that lawyers must follow in these circumstances. These include things like confirming the identity of the grantor and the contents of the Enduring Power of Attorney, as well as following other rules dealing with electronic signing. These measures are in place to help address concerns regarding issues such as fraud, identity theft, undue influence, duress and possible lack of capacity to execute the document.

Sometimes financial institutions may provide a power of attorney form that gives someone a specific power of attorney over funds held by that institution only. Unless this is the only power of attorney you need, you may want to consider a single comprehensive power of attorney to avoid confusion and disputes. A later power of attorney document may cancel an existing power of attorney document so it is very important to review and fully understand any documents you sign.

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