Estate planning: When you are unable to act for yourself

Estate planning: When you are unable to act for yourself
There are instances when you cannot make decisions for yourself. These instances include being in extreme medical or psychological conditions. In these cases, you can authorize someone else to make financial decisions for you.

Of course, rules are different for each province and territory for these kinds of cases. There are also different names of documents used to authorize someone to act for you. Some provinces call this document “power of attorney for personal care or for property.” Others simply call it a “representation agreement.” Quebec calls it a “mandate in case of incapacity.”

But even if this document is called many different names, it can be used for several common situations such as:
- Authorizing a friend or partner to act for a limited time if you are travelling and need someone to look after your property;
- Naming a legal representative to take care of your affairs if you become unable to look after them yourself;
- Naming a family member to make decisions about medical treatment, food, clothing and shelter if you are mentally or physically unable to act for yourself.

Note that you can name more than one person to act for you. You can name your spouse as your main representative and another person as a back-up.

Remember, you will need the assistance of a lawyer to prepare these documents for you as there are legal details that you may not to be aware of when preparing legal documents such as this.

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