What is a “power of attorney”?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you give someone you trust (called your “attorney”, but not meaning “lawyer”) the right to make decisions for you. The document can be for when you are perfectly healthy (for example, a Power of Attorney for Property authorizing your brother to handle the sale of your cottage while you are out of the country), or for when you are unable to look after matters on your own by reason of debilitating illness or injury.
To make a Power of Attorney you have to be mentally capable.
To be considered mentally capable of giving a power of attorney for personal care it must be clear that you understand the need to choose someone with genuine concern for your welfare, and that there may be a need for that person to make personal care decisions for you. This has to be done in advance; if there is need for someone else to make decisions for you and there is no Power of Attorney in place then a guardianship application to the Superior Court must be done.
To be considered mentally capable of giving a power of attorney for property, it must be clear that:
— you know about your assets (what you own, what they’re worth;
— you are aware of your obligations to your dependent; and
— you understand the authority and power you are giving to the person holding Power of Attorney.