Power of Attorney for Personal Care

More information about Power of Attorney for Personal Care

A Power of Attorney for Personal Care is a legal document in which you give a person, who you completely trust, and who is called the attorney, the right and authority to make personal care decisions that relate to your medical condition, treatment and care on your behalf if you become mentally or physically incapable. Personal care includes health care, nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and safety. It is very important that you fully trust the person you make your attorney, as he or she may be charged with making life-and-death decisions on your behalf. Given the legal implications a lawyer’s expertise should be sought when a Power of Attorney for Health Care is being drafted.

Key Takeaways

A Power of Attorney for Health Care is a legal document that empowers a specific individual to speak with others and make decisions on your behalf concerning your medical condition, treatment, and care.
It is important that you fully trust the person you make your attorney, as he or she may be charged with making life-and-death decisions on your behalf.
Given the legal implications a lawyer’s expertise should be sought when a Power of Attorney for Health Care is being drafted.
The person who gives aPower of Attorney can always withdraw, rescind or revoke the Power of Attorney.

Living Will

In Ontario law the term “living will” has no legal significance though people do use it. Sometimes people use the term “advance directive”. This is your written statement of wishes about how you wish to be cared for in certain eventualities. In your Power of Attorney for Personal Care we can include whatever advance directive you wish to make about what your future care choices are. These wishes will be binding on your attorney or other substitute decision-makers.

End-of-Life and Treatment Decisions

Disputes sometimes arise among family members of a person with a terminal condition and also between doctors and the loved ones of a dying patient over whether or not to prolong the patient’s life. The Health Care Consent Act (the “HCCA”) provides very efficient and relatively inexpensive ways to resolve these disputes by different kinds of applications to The Consent and Capacity Board (the “CCB”). We help to mediate these disputes through alternative dispute resolution and if mediation fails then we can help to litigate end-of-life and treatment disputes before the CCB and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. As stated above disputes about future care choices can be avoided if in your Power of Attorney for Personal Care you direct your attorney what your future care choices are. These wishes will be binding on your attorney or other substitute decision-makers.

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)

In October 2020, the Government of Canada introduced legislation to clarify the law regarding medical assistance in dying. This new law is expected to permit eligible persons who wish to seek medical assistance in dying (MAID) to do so whether their natural death is reasonably foreseeable or not. In the opinion of some people, these legal changes could lead to reducing unnecessary suffering in Canada. The new changes to the law will also support greater autonomy and freedom of choice for eligible persons, and provide safeguards to protect those who may be vulnerable.

This is one of the most sensitive areas of wills and estate law. We strongly encourage our clients to speak to their family members, faith leaders, doctors, therapists, friends and others about this topic.

We can assist your family through this difficult decision with empathy and dignity

Termination of a Power of Attorney

The principal who gives a Power of Attorney can always withdraw, rescind or revoke a Power of Attorney. No reasons need to be given. When an individual passes away, the Power of Attorney becomes void, and the person’s last will and testament comes into effect.

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