Do I Need a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the power to act on your behalf.  Some describe it as “stepping into the shoes” of the person who creates the power of attorney.  To “act on your behalf” means to make decisions as you would, as well as doing so with your best interests being the primary focus.


A valid Power of Attorney must name the person you have chosen to act on your behalf as your attorney, and should you become incapacitated either physically or mentally.  This document must be signed and witnessed by two people who are present at the time the document is signed by you.


The two witnesses cannot be:


1. your spouse, partner, child, or someone you treat as a child.
2. your attorney or your attorney’s spouse or partner.
3. anyone under 18 years of age
4. anyone who in incapable of making their own property or personal care decisions.


Your attorney is not necessarily a lawyer, it can be anyone who you trust to “step into your shoes” and act in your best interests and in a manner consistent with how you would act.


In Ontario, there are two types of Power of Attorney that can be used:
– Power of Attorney for Personal Care
– Power of Attorney for Property


A Power of Attorney takes effect as outlined in the POA document.  It ends when you die or your attorney dies or when you create a new POA document.


Powers of Attorney can be very important documents depending on your circumstance, your relationships and how your affairs are arranged.


It is best to sit down with a professional and explore the necessity of creating such a document.  Oftentimes, when someone is creating a will, the lawyer will suggest creating a Power of Attorney as well.  This ensures that all possible protections are in place.  Since Powers of Attorney are active while you are alive, and the will becomes active after death, then you have in place documents that will protect you in life as well as in death.


If you have questions or concerns about these documents then contact a lawyer in your area or contact the Legal Clinic at 461-3935 or ask Alex! at