POAs – a Primer

Grace Cleveland
Wills & Estates

Attorneys in BC have specific rights and responsibilities governed by the Power of Attorney Act, case law, and the Power of Attorney ("POA") itself, but we've compiled a shortlist of the main items that donors and attorneys need to know.

Attorney Duties

• act in the best interests of the donor, taking into account the donor’s current wishes, known beliefs and values, and any directions provided to the attorney

• act within the scope of authority set out in POA and the Power of Attorney Act

• act honestly and in good faith

• exercise the care, diligence, and skill of a reasonably prudent person

• keep (and produce, upon request) records of the donor’s assets and liabilities, valuations, accounts, invoices, bank statements, and other documents regarding receipt or disbursement of income or capital on the donor’s behalf

• keep the donor’s property separate from the attorney’s property, unless the POA expressly permits otherwise

• avoid delegating decision-making authority

• refrain from disposing of property subject to a specific testamentary gift in the donor’s Will

Attorney Powers

• make decisions in relation to the donor’s property and financial affairs

• buy, sell or transfer real property

• make payments for the temporary care, education and financial support of persons under the donor’s care

• create or settle corporations or trusts for the benefit of the donor

• invest the donor’s money in accordance with the Trustee Act

• retain and rely on the advice of professionals for the benefit of the donor

Of course, these powers and duties are just a starting point when it comes to the scope of a specific POA. The exact authority and obligations granted to an attorney will vary according to the donor’s specific circumstances and wishes. Want to know more? Call or email us today!

This article is intended for information purposes only and should not be taken as the provision of legal advice. Grace C. Cleveland is a lawyer with the law firm of Cleveland Doan LLP and can be reached at (604)536-5002 or grace@clevelanddoan.com.