Power of Attorney Deadline Extended

Thanks to a recent announcement by the Attorney General, British Columbians will have another year to make enduring Powers of Attorney.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person, called an “attorney”, to manage your legal and financial affairs. (“Attorney” in this case does not mean a lawyer as they are referred to in the USA, but is simply the person to whom you grant the power of attorney)

A regular Power of Attorney automatically becomes void if you become incapable unless you have added a special clause to the Power of Attorney. An Enduring Power of Attorney contains a statement to the effect that the attorney may continue to act on your behalf if you become mentally incapable. It has been a valuable tool for disability planning.

The B.C. government had hoped to phase out the creation of new enduring powers of attorney by September 2000, replacing them with the new Representation Agreements which are more complex legal documents that also allow you to appoint a representative to manage your legal and financial affairs, but also to make health and personal care decisions for you in the same document. Unfortunately, because of their complexity, the new Representation Agreements have been costing our clients a great deal more than the old Powers of Attorney.

The extension means that new Enduring Powers of Attorney can be made until September 2001. Given the greater simplicity and familiarity of Powers of Attorney, we recommend that, before next September, clients consider making an Enduring Power of Attorney for financial matters and a separate simple Representation Agreement for health and personal care. Please call us at your convenience for more information.

Note: Another extension was announced in 2001, extending the deadline to September 2002.