Power of Attorney is a legal document by which you, or the “Principal”, declare another person or a group of individuals as your legal representative(s), or the “Agent(s)”, also known as “Attorney-
However, no matter what type of a situation you are facing, and also whether you are planning to grant full or limited powers to the appointed “Agent(s)”, the most important thing to bear in mind is that this should always be a person or an organization whom you trust the most. The “Agent” may be a close family member, one of your friends, your legal advisor(s) or even a bank and a similar agency.
While it's very important to consider whether to make a power of attorney, you don't have to, and no one can make you sign one if you don't want to. But remember, if you don't make a power of attorney, someone may have to be formally appointed some day to make decisions for you, if the decisions involve matters other than medical treatment.
It is of outmost importance to understand the difference between the various types of the Power of Attorney which may be available to you. When planning to use the document outside of the United States it might not be a bad idea to arrange with your representative in the target country to have the document prepared for you or contact the local consulate of such country to verify the requirements, as many foreign jurisdictions may have their unique requirements as to how such instruments should be drafted in terms of wording, spacing and even dating the document. For instance, in Russia it is a must to have the date of the document spelled out.
TYPES OF POWER OF ATTORNEY DOCUMENTS
There are two main types of Power of Attorney documents.
The General Power of Attorney document refers to a legal instrument that grants unlimited in scope and duration powers to the “Agent(s) by allowing the appointed individual to act as your legal representative and to make decisions on your behalf in all legal and financial matters, until such time as the Power of Attorney is revoked or expired.
The Special Power of Attorney document identifies the limits to be imposed upon the “Agent(s)”, hence restricting the scope and/or duration of that person’s or entity’s powers to as much as a single type of conduct or a certain transaction. The limited in duration Power of Attorney documents specify an expiration date after which the document becomes invalid.
While the limited in scope Power of Attorney documents grant the “Agent” rights to engage in a specific, for instance, a financial or real estate, transaction on the behalf of the “Principal”.
Copies of the Power of Attorney Kit can be obtained from:
The Ministry of the Attorney General
any Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee
by calling 1-800-366-0335, (416) 314-2800 in Toronto
your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP)
Powers of Attorney and Living Wills