Katherine Al Haddad

By Katherine Al Haddad

July 12, 2016

Financial Security

Power of Attorney: Do I Need It?

Article revised on 27 July 2017

Anyone – even you – can have a stroke or be injured in an accident that would prevent them from being able to make their own decisions. If such a situation were to arise, who would you want to act on your behalf? You can make that decision now.

In Quebec, the protection mandate, previously known as the “mandate in case of incapacity,” enables people to designate someone to look after their property and make personal care decisions on their behalf in the event that they become incapable of doing so themselves. It is this latter point that differentiates a will from a power of attorney, or “mandate,” as is used in Quebec.

It’s good to have one!

Preparing a mandate, or power of attorney, is a fairly straightforward process.

  1. Appoint someone to represent you and act on your behalf (a family member or some other person you trust).
  2. Get a notary to draft your power of attorney document, or draft it yourself and sign it in the presence of witnesses.

A notarized power of attorney has the same legal value as one that has been signed in the presence of witnesses.

You can appoint more than one person to represent you. For example, one person can make personal care decisions and another can make decisions regarding your property.

A power of attorney includes:

  • Information about you and the person(s) you have appointed to represent you
  • Your wishes concerning yourself (such as your last wishes) and your property
  • Designation of guardians for minor relatives who are dependent on you
  • Provisions for compensation of your representative(s), if applicable.

You can update your power of attorney at any time.

Various templates are available online to help you create a power of attorney that corresponds to your needs.

If your power of attorney does need to be activated, it will first have to be approved by a judge. If you regain the ability to make your own decisions, or if you die, it will cease to have effect.

What happens if I don’t have a power of attorney?

Quebec residents who have not prepared a mandate or power of attorney and become incapacitated, generally have an advisor, tutor or curator, chosen for them by their loved ones.

That said, it is far better for you to have the peace of mind of being the one to choose the person(s) who will represent you. In addition to looking out for your own interests, you are making an important decision for your minor children and your assets. A power of attorney enables the continuity of decision making for yourself and your loved ones.

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