Is the Power of Attorney for Personal Care a “Must-have”?
The Answer Is “YES”.
What is a Power of Attorney (the “POA”)?
A power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone else a right to make decisions on your behalf in case of incapability. The term “attorney” refers to the person you have chosen to act on your behalf. The person you choose does not have to be a lawyer.
Who can sign the POA for personal care (the “POAPC”)? And how do I make it a legal document?
Anyone, who is 16 years of age or older and who is mentally capable of making one, can make a POAPC. In this situation mental capacity means two things. First, whether you understand that the person you name as your attorney is genuinely concerned with your well-being. Second, whether you understand that you may need this person to make decisions for you. To be valid, the document must contain the following elements:
- Name one or more persons to act as your attorney for personal care if you become mentally incapable.
- Be signed by you and dated; and
- Be signed by two witnesses, who saw you sign the document.
Who can witness the POAPC?
There are some restrictions about who your witness can be. The following people cannot act as witnesses: your spouse, partner, child; your attorney; anyone under the age of 18; anyone who has a “Guardian of Property”; or anyone, who has a “Guardian of Person”.
What kind of power will the attorney have under the POAPC?
The attorney will follow your instructions as contained in the POAPC. That is, the attorney will have the power to make almost any decision of a personal nature on your behalf unless you restrict your attorney’s powers. These powers include any decisions about your medical treatments, housing, food, hygiene, clothing, and safety.
Can I appoint more than one attorney?
Yes, you can appoint more than one attorney. However, that person cannot be someone, who you pay to provide services to you, unless that person is a relative.
Why is this document so important?
What if something happened and you no longer can make decisions for yourself. On one hand, your family would have to make those decisions based on how well they know you and what you would have wished to do. However, there is no guarantee that their choices would reflect what you would have done in these circumstances.
On the other hand, if you have a POAPC, then this legal document allows you to direct others in making healthcare-related decisions on your behalf. For example, this legal document can leave the instructions regarding the organ and body donation, determination of capacity or instructions in case of a terminal illness where recovery is unlikely.
Finally, you can instruct your attorney to make decisions about housing and other aspects of your life. For example, if you wish to remain in your own home for as long as possible or move to a nursing home or long-term care facility, then the POAPC is for you.
If you wish to appoint an attorney, please do not hesitate to contact our office and get a professional advice if. We will be glad to assist you. You can contact us via the “CONTACT US “form, telephone at (905) 370-0484, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org