It is not uncommon for people to avoid thoughts about their own mortality. However, proper estate planning can provide valuable peace of mind, not only for the event of death but also to prepare for possible incapacitation. Many people in Alberta establish powers of attorney as a part of their estate planning.
A power of attorney is not a person but rather a legal document by which an attorney — not necessarily a lawyer — is appointed to handle a person’s finances if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to deal with financial matters. The person who is named as the attorney in the legal document will have access to the testator’s banking transactions, including the power to sign cheques. He or she can borrow money and do real estate transactions on behalf of the testator along with any other responsibilities allocated in the power of attorney document.
Advisers suggest discussing the matter with the intended attorney before giving him or her the power of attorney, not only to determine whether that person is willing to accept the responsibility but also to inform him or her of wishes and expectations. The chosen individual must understand that all actions must be in the best interests of the testator. The document must list those directions along with any restrictions.
Dealing with the process of estate planning could be daunting, but it is not typically a task to tackle without legal guidance. An Alberta lawyer with experience in this field of the law can provide valuable advice based on the client’s unique circumstances. Legal counsel can also assist with occasional reviews and updates of all aspects of estate plans to ensure they remain relevant.