Do you know the difference between someone with Power of Attorney and an Executor?
While people often see the roles as interchangeable, they actually serve very different purposes.
“Too many times I sit with grieving families who are exhausted, overwhelmed and confused about Powers of Attorney and Executorships,” says Julie Evans, from Sands Funeral Chapel Cremation and Reception Centre in Colwood. “Many are surprised to learn that the role of the Power of Attorney ends once a death has occurred. It doesn’t grant them legal right to make funeral arrangements and decide on whether to bury or cremate their loved one.”
Once an individual has died, and a will is in place, the named executor becomes responsible for arranging the person’s estate and funeral arrangements.
So, what is Power of Attorney and why do I need one?
“Power of Attorney is a legal document granting one or more individuals the authority to act on your behalf when you are unable to do so. You can also choose one person to make medical decisions and another to handle financial matters,” says Evans, noting “that as long as you’re of sound mind, changes can be made at any time, and you retain full control of your affairs until the need for the Power of Attorney arises.”
An Enduring or Continuing Power of Attorney grants the assigned person(s) the authority to manage property and finances if you are mentally unable of doing so. A Power of Attorney for Personal Care grants any person you choose the authority to make choices regarding treatment, housing and care if you become temporarily or permanently mentally incapacitated.
“While you can choose anyone of required legal age for your Power of Attorney, they should be someone of high integrity who’ll look out for your best interests,” Evans says, adding “the position is voluntary and they cannot profit from handling your affairs.”
When does POA come to an end?
There are a number of circumstances under which the Power of Attorney comes to a close:
- If the person you assign dies or resigns
- If you revoke it officially
- When its specific purpose or timeframe has run out
- If you enter bankruptcy
- If you become mentally incompetent and did not assign an enduring POA
- If the Court appoints an Administrator to manage your affairs
- At the time of your death
Learn what you need to know, for free
Sands Funeral Chapel Cremation and Reception Centre in Colwood hosts a free Power of Attorney education seminar Tuesday, Feb. 25 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Presented by investment specialist Tanya Lyn Werk, with Scotiabank, the session explores who you should appoint, powers to be granted, protecting your assets, common errors to avoid and more.
All are welcome, and two sessions are available –at the Sands Funeral Chapel, 317 Goldstream Ave., near Colwood Corners. Light refreshments will be served.
For more information about this session, or planning for final arrangements, contact Julie and her team at 250-478-3821. You can also learn more at sandscolwood.ca.