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Without an Enduring Power of Attorney a relative or friend would have to make a Court Application in order to be appointed your Trustee if you are incapacitated. This can be a costly and time consuming process.
Under the Power of Attorney's Act of Alberta, you can appoint an individual or Trust Company (the "Attorney") to act in connection with your financial affairs.
A Power of Attorney can take effect at two points in time:
· It can take effect immediately; or
· It can take effect on the happening of a subsequent event, such as mental incapacity (a springing power of attorney).
These Powers of Attorney are often referred to as Enduring Powers Attorney because they endure, or continue on after incapacity.
It is important to note that to make a valid Enduring Power of Attorney you must:
· Be mentally competent at the time it is prepared and signed; and
· Be able to understand the nature and effect of it.
What would happen if you were incapacitated from an accident or sickness?
Enduring Powers of Attorney provide for the ongoing financial maintenance and care of' yourself and your loved ones should you become incapacitated. A Personal Directive ensures, your personal care is consistent with your values and beliefs in the event that you are unable, to make these decisions on your own due to mental incapacity. Without these documents in place prior to incapacity, your financial affairs and personal care might well be governed and monitored by the Courts.
Are you willing to risk the impersonal and expensive results that could occur if you failed to have these two simple documents in place?
A personal directive lets you your loved ones know your wishes about medical treatment or where you would like to live, in case you lose the ability to make choices on your own due to injury or illness (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, coma).
A personal directive also lets you choose another person, an agent, to act on your behalf and make decisions for you when you cannot make them yourself.
Have you ever thought about what would happen if you were unable to make choices for yourself? Could another person make decisions for you?
Under most circumstances, not even your closest family members have the right to make decisions on your behalf without a court order. Currently, the Powers of Attorney Act allows you to give another person authority to make financial decisions for you. But financial matters are only part of the many decisions you make every day.
If something happens to you so that you are no longer able to make such decisions, who will have the authority to make them for you and what kind of decisions will they make? A personal directive allows adult Albertans to name one or more people to make decisions for them, describe the areas in which they want decisions made for them.
The need for a personal directive may be short-term, such as when a serious illness leaves an individual unable to make decisions for a few days. In the case of brain injury or a incapacitating illness a personal directive may be required for the remaining length of a person's lifetime.