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Granting power of attorney is a key part of estate planning

Many people make plans for what happens to their assets after they pass away. However, there is more to estate planning in Alberta than simply deciding who gets what. Preparing for a future in which one is still living, but not able to make essential decisions, is just as important.

By granting power of attorney to a trusted relative, friend or professional, an individual is giving that person the right to make choices he or she cannot. Depending on the nature of the grant, these may include decisions about financial matters, or personal issues such as health care. There is no right or wrong time to create such a document, as it will not go into effect except according to the grantor's instructions. That could mean an immediate transfer of responsibility, or it can go into effect when diminished capacity has been determined.

A power of attorney can be either broad or general in nature, depending on the grantor's needs and wishes. The duration can also be pre-determined. For example, it could be set to expire at such time as the grantor is no longer mentally competent, or, in the case of an enduring power of attorney, it can last until the donor is deceased.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about granting a power of attorney is, as with all aspects of estate planning, it must be set up properly in order to be effective. The best way to ensure all goes according to plan is to draft documents like these with the assistance of a lawyer. A lawyer who has experience with estate law in Alberta can help a man or woman make solid plans for the future.

Source: FindLaw Canada, "Power of attorney - FAQ", Accessed on Feb. 19, 2017

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