Scotia Private Client Group expert offers advice on what to include in a
Power of Attorney and what to know when appointed as an attorney
TORONTO, Nov. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - The importance of having a will is widely
understood, but fewer people realize the value of a power of attorney.
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the
right to act on your behalf. It is an important tool for estate
planning because it can be used to provide personal or financial
protection in the event that a person becomes incapacitated and cannot
make decisions for themselves.
A power of attorney ensures that important decisions about finances and
personal care can continue to be made by a trusted person or persons
chosen by the individual appointing the attorney. Scotia Private Client
Group outlines the scenarios in which a continuing or enduring power of
attorney for property is most useful and offers advice both for those
who wish to create the document and those who have been asked to act as
attorney on another person's behalf.
Canada's Aging Population
Statistics Canada has predicted that Canada's population will age
rapidly until 2031 and that within the next 25 years more than a
quarter of the country's population will be seniors. This increases the
likelihood that Canadians will be caring for aging parents, planning
for future care, or may need care themselves.
"The biggest challenge is that continuing or enduring powers of attorney
for property often do not get the consideration they deserve," says
Elaine Blades, Director of Fiduciary Products and Services at Scotia
Private Client Group. "It's understandable that this is a difficult
topic, but it is an important one. Most people think of their wills,
which don't come into effect until after they're gone, while a power of
attorney is incredibly important because it affects your life and
preferences for that life while you are still alive."
Planning for Life
A power of attorney can be useful for a variety of reasons. Anyone can
be unexpectedly afflicted with an illness, disease or accident and
without proper planning this could lead to even more stress placed on
"I often hear my clients say that their biggest fear is to be a burden
on their children and one of the best ways to avoid that situation is
to have an effective estate plan that includes a power of attorney
appointing the best choice of attorney for you," adds Blades. "This can
often be just as important as keeping an up-to-date Will."
It is important to carefully consider and talk to a prospective power of
attorney. This role carries significant responsibility to carry out
personal decisions that can be time consuming and difficult. It is
important to discuss your wishes with your family and seek advice from
professionals to ensure that you appoint the right person and that
everyone is on the same page.
"Appointing and accepting the role of power of attorney is a very
personal decision, and one not to be taken lightly," said Blades. "Our
role is to help individuals and families navigate through this area in
a way that is objective, comforting and effective."
Advice for creating a power of attorney
In order to ensure the power of attorney is used only when needed or
appropriate, consider providing a trusted family member or your family
doctor with the authority to determine when your attorney should start
Understand the powers you are conferring and the responsibilities and
obligations your attorney is expected to assume.
Most importantly, ensure you appoint a reliable and trustworthy
institution or individual to act on your behalf. Many people appoint a
trust company as their attorney for property to take the burden off a
Other options that can help are services such as asset custody,
investment management, income and pension collection, bill payments,
income tax reporting and filing.
Advice for executors of power of attorney
When acting as attorney you assume a number of significant duties and
obligations; moreover you must always act with honesty, in good faith
and in the best interests of the grantor.
It can be a very time consuming job which may last for months or even
years. It is essential to understand exactly what your responsibilities
and duties are before accepting.
Be prepared to make difficult decisions for which you may have little or
no training or experience.
Keep records of everything. You may be personally liable for any loss
should you fail to properly execute the required duties and standard of
care which includes a duty to account.
And last, you are not obligated to accept the role of attorney and
should give serious thought to the time, responsibility, and expertise
involved before assuming the role. Always get expert advice to clearly
understand the laws and rules governing the role of an attorney before
Scotiabank is one of North America's premier financial institutions and
Canada's most international bank. With more than 73,000 employees,
Scotiabank Group and its affiliates serve some 18.6 million customers
in more than 50 countries around the world. Scotiabank offers a broad
range of products and services including personal, commercial,
corporate and investment banking. With assets above $567 billion (as at
July 31, 2011), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (BNS) and New York
Stock Exchanges (BNS). For more information please visit www.scotiabank.com.
About Scotia Private Client Group
Scotia Private Client Group consists of private client services from The
Bank of Nova Scotia, The Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Company, Scotia
Asset Management L.P., Scotia Asset Management U.S. Inc., ScotiaMcLeod
Financial Services Inc., WaterStreet Family Capital Counsel Inc., and
ScotiaMcLeod, a division of Scotia Capital Inc. Scotia Capital Inc. is
a member of CIPF. Estate planning services are provided by The Bank of
Nova Scotia Trust Company. Scotia Private Client Group is a registered
trademark of The Bank of Nova Scotia, used by its affiliates under
For further information:
Shelley Thomas, Narrative Advocacy Media, 416-922-2211 x 3364, firstname.lastname@example.org