real estate lawyer ottawa stitttsville

Substitute Decision-Making for Property

real estate lawyer ottawa stitttsvilleIn a blog posted last week, we explored the different types of substitute decision-makers that can be appointed with respect to personal care. In this blog, we will turn our attention to substitute decision-makers with respect to property.

I’m not sure if my dad has the capacity to sign a Power of Attorney for Property?

In a Power of Attorney for Property, the ‘grantor’ (the person signing the document) appoints one or more persons to make decisions on their behalf with respect to their property. In order to have the required mental capacity to sign a Power of Attorney for Property, among other things, the grantor must know what kind of property they have and its approximate value as well as appreciate the authority that they are giving to the Attorney.

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Substitute Decision-Making for Personal Care

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Have you signed a Power of Attorney for Personal Care?

When we think of estate planning, we often focus on the importance of signing a Will. However, planning for one’s possible incapacity is another critical aspect of proper estate planning. This generally involves signing both a Power of Attorney for Property and a Power of Attorney for Personal Care. An ‘Attorney’ is defined in Ontario as a ‘substitute decision-maker’ and should not be confused with the terminology of our neighbours to the south where lawyers are referred to as attorneys.
Before signing a Power of Attorney document, one must have the required mental capacity.

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wills lawyer stittsville

Elder Abuse: Where to go for Help

wills lawyer stittsvilleGenerally speaking, elder abuse is any act that harms or threatens to harm someone who is 65 or older. Elder abuse can include physical, financial, emotional and sexual assault as well as neglect in the care of a senior. The results of a recent study on elder abuse are staggering:

  • In 2015, more than 750,000 Canadian seniors were the victims of some form of abuse;
  • Psychological abuse is the type most often committed with financial abuse as the second highest form of abuse;
  • 37% of financial abuse against seniors is perpetrated by a child or grandchild with only 10% committed by a stranger;
  • In most kinds of elder abuse, the perpetrator is more often a spouse, child or grandchild.

Given our aging demographics, it is expected that elder abuse will increase over the next few decades.

Is elder abuse a crime?

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power of attorney property validity

My father signed a Power of Attorney for Property in Alberta….Is it valid in Ontario?

power of attorney property validityLast week I met with Sue (not her real name) in my law office in the Kanata-Stittsville area of Ottawa. I first worked with Sue when she was acting as executor of her mother’s estate. While living in Alberta, her father had signed a Power of Attorney for Property naming Sue. Following a stroke, he was moved to Ottawa to be closer to family. Sue explained that due to the stroke, he is no longer mentally capable. The financial institution where her father’s investments are held refuses to recognize the Power of Attorney signed in Alberta.  They say that since it was signed outside of Ontario, they do not consider it valid. 

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Unavailable on the Day of Closing?…Sign a Limited Power of Attorney of Property

power of attorney for property transfer day of closing
I have to go out of town on the day my real estate deal closes…What should I do?

It’s almost summer and the real estate market is definitely in full swing. Some properties that sold earlier this Spring have closing dates very soon including one of our clients, Raymond (not his real name).
I met with Raymond last March about his dad’s estate. He is the executor (also called an estate trustee) in his dad’s Will.
Raymond had some questions about executor compensation and passing his accounts. He also had just sold his dad’s house and an issue had come up. When negotiating the purchase date, Raymond forgot that he would be out east for his daughter’s wedding on the day of closing.

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Making Decisions Under a Power of Attorney

Siblings often don’t get along, even at the best of times. Add the stress and emotion that accompany having to take care of an aging parent and relations can get even more strained.

estate planning powers of attorney
Acting under a Power  of Attorney? Keep the lines of communication open!

I recently met with Ottawa residents and siblings Derrick and Sherry (not their real names). Their mother had recently had a massive heart attack and suffered some brain injury as a result. As their mother had granted them a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, Derrick and Sherry had to decide where she should live as she was currently incapable of making this decision for herself. She had also appointed them as her Attorneys for Property.
Derrick and Sherry often disagreed on many things including where their mother should live. 

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My bank told me to sign the bank’s Power of Attorney form. That’s okay, right?

Early in the new year, I met with Grace* to review her estate planning. She signed a new Will and Power of Attorney for Property (POA) naming her daughter, Julie,* as her executor and her attorney in the new documents.
Grace called me last week to let me know she had gone to her bank to give them the new POA document. She is getting older and, although her mind is still sharp, she likes the idea of Julie being able to manage her money for her. However the bank would not accept the POA because Grace had only an unsigned copy and hadn’t brought the original with her. The bank’s staff, trying to be “helpful,” offered to have Grace sign the bank’s POA form. However, they did not explain to her the problems that doing so could create.
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