You can make the decision to create a power of attorney at any time. You do not have to wait until there is some reason to think you may need one. In fact to give a power of attorney you must be capable of understanding what you are doing. You can also create a power of attorney that will only come into effect if you can no longer act for yourself.
A power of attorney is an effective planning document but it should not be entered into lightly.
There is always some risk involved when you give someone else the power to manage your affairs. The authority you give someone to act for you can be abused. Depending on the type of authority given, an attorney can do things like sell property, enter into a mortgage or decide where you should live. The Government of Canada’s publication, What Every Older Canadian Should Know About: Powers of Attorney and Joint Bank Accounts, provides information that can help you consider and manage the risks.
It is important to only appoint someone you trust under a power of attorney. Remember that, as long as you have capacity, you can still act for yourself and can end the power of attorney at any time. It is also important to understand and utilize the tools that are in place to hold the attorney accountable.
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