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Wills and estate planning

How to choose who will act for you after death Add to ...

​​The most important decision you will make when preparing a power of attorney is who to appoint as your attorney.

Four tips for choosing an attorney

1. Choose someone you know well

They should be someone who you’re reasonably sure will carry out your wishes and manage your affairs properly. A family member or close friend may be a good choice because of your close connection with them.

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2. Make sure they meet the requirements

  • Continuing power of attorney for property – can be anyone who is age 18 or older.
  • Power of attorney for personal care – must be at least 16 years old. You cannot appoint anyone you pay for your health care, including therapy, home care, or for your living arrangements (for example, your landlord), unless they are a spouse or relative.

3. Consider appointing more than one attorney

It may be appropriate to appoint joint attorneys, particularly if you are choosing between your children and the choice is likely to be contentious. They can all make decisions jointly on your behalf, or you can give them specific roles. For example, for a power of attorney for personal care, one person could make health-care decisions and another might look after living arrangements for you.

4. Appoint a backup

You can have one primary person and appoint others as backups if your first choice is unavailable or unable to act on your behalf.

A lawyer or trustee can also be your attorney: Consider making your lawyer or a trust company your attorney or one of your joint attorneys. Their expertise could be helpful in managing some or all of your affairs.


Content in this section is provided in partnership with Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization founded and supported by the Ontario Securities Commission that provides unbiased and independent financial tools to help Canadians make better money decisions. To find out more, go to: GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca

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