An integral part of the estate planning process is creating a Power of Attorney. If you divide your time between Canada and Germany or are relocating to or from either country, it is important to ensure that the necessary documents are legally valid wherever you are.
What Is A Power Of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you (the donor) grants another person (the attorney) the authority to make decisions on your behalf should you no longer be able to. In Canada, powers of attorney are the subject of provincial legislation. When drafting your Power of Attorney, it is critical to ensure that it meets the requirements of the province in which you reside.
Powers Of Attorney In Ontario
In Ontario, there are two types of Powers of Attorney: Power of Attorney for Property and Power of Attorney for Personal Care. Both are important but serve different purposes.
A Power of Attorney for Property authorizes your attorney to make decisions regarding financial affairs including investments as well as handling real estate matters. A Power of Attorney for Personal Care allows them to make health and personal care decisions.
Powers Of Attorney In Germany
In Germany, there are three types of Powers of Attorney: Vorsorgevollmacht, Betreuungsverfügung and Patientenverfügung. Both notaries and individuals may deposit, for a fee, documents with the Central Register, run by the National Association of Notaries. This ensures that in the event of an emergency, they will be easy to access.
A Vorsorgevollmacht authorizes a person to act on your behalf should you become unable to do so. Without a Vorsorgevollmacht, the court may appoint a Power of Attorney since there is no automatic designation. A Vorsorgevollmacht addresses both general matters and specific concerns.
With a Betreuungsverfügung, an individual is appointed as an attorney and remains under supervision of the appointing court. As the donor, any instructions that you provide to your attorney are legally binding.
A Patientenverfügung addresses medical treatment in an emergency situation. As the donor, you should specifically address concerns, values, and beliefs regarding medical care to ensure that doctors and your attorney are able to follow your wishes.
Why Make A Power Of Attorney?
Having a Power of Attorney in place helps ensure that should you be unable to make important decisions on your own, a trusted person will be able to act on your behalf. In the emotionally charged period of time following an accident, injury, or illness, having a Power of Attorney can save your family, friends, and loved ones from having to make critical decisions on their own. It helps provide personal peace of mind as well as reassure others that you have planned ahead.
Given the complexities of making Powers of Attorney and how much is at stake, having skilled legal support is vital. Especially when engaging in cross-border estate planning, knowing that you are protecting yourself against stressful and costly mistakes is imperative.