EPAs & Personal Directives in Edmonton: What You Should Know
Definition: EPA = Enduring Power of Attorney
Most Edmontonians want to think about what happens after they die and therefore pay very little attention to details such as a last will and testament. Without important legal documents such as a will, prepared by an Edmonton Will & Estate Lawyer your family will be forced to deal with unsettled business and financial details in your absence.
But there are other situations in which your will may not be as important as other legal declarations.
Enduring Power of Attorney
An EPA, or an enduring power of attorney, allows you to designate an attorney or several attorneys to deal with business or financial matters on your behalf. You may appoint an EPA any time you prefer, however it is customary to designate one if you suffer mental incapacity due to a coma or Alzheimer’s for example. Your family physician or a panel of physicians may be convened to determine your mental fitness to make important decisions.
You may grant an EPA to anyone, including a spouse, children or estate manager. Alberta law does not require the EPA to be in Alberta to execute your wishes.
A personal directive gives you the power to appoint someone to act on your behalf to make personal decisions including those involving health and long-term care. Like an EPA, a personal directive is usually granted in the event that you no longer have the mental capacity to make these decisions on your own.
The person you appoint for make these decisions should be aware of your wishes in regards to decisions that have to be for your health, prolonging life, living arrangements and accommodations and any other issues you deem important enough to make it into a personal directive.
Are They Required If You Have A Will?
This is the question that many people have, as they presume that the executor of the last will and testament will be the same individual. That is rarely the case as the EPA and personal directive are more like ‘living will’ documents. While these items may be outlined in your will, you may also have these drawn up in addition to your last will and testament.
Since both of these documents are intended for individuals who lack the mental capacity to make financial or health care decisions, they are usually created in addition to a traditional will. If a situation arises where your mental capacity or general health begins to deteriorate, you should look into having a lawyer create an EPA and personal directive. Keep in mind that the EPA will have to account for your property to the executor of the will in the event of your death as an EPA is not the same as the executor of the will.
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