Last month, we published Representation Agreements: Creating Certainty, the second in a 3-part blog series on the what, why and who of the estate planning services that lawyer Scott Murray offers our Okanagan clients. Today we share the final post in the series, this time focusing on enduring powers of attorney.
An enduring power of attorney ensures that someone will take charge of your financial affairs when you are no longer able to do so yourself. It allows you to authorize someone you trust (like a spouse, family member or friend, or your lawyer or accountant) to make legal and financial decisions for you if you need help due to illness, injury or disability. The difference between a power of attorney and an enduring power of attorney is that the latter remains in effect once you become mentally incapable.
Along with a will and representation agreement, an enduring power of attorney is a key aspect of the estate planning process. It affords you as much control over your finances as possible, given that life is uncertain. It not only reduces any current stress you may have about financial planning, it also reduces future stress and conflict your loved ones may experience if they disagree about how to deal with your affairs.
Everyone should have an enduring power of attorney. If you are currently in a relationship transition (marriage, separation, divorce, etc.), it can be wise to review and/or update any previous choices you have made about future legal and financial decision-makers. And if you anticipate the potential for disputes among the people likely to manage your financial affairs in the future, it makes sense to do what you can now to prevent that.