Powers of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney?

A will comes into effect when you pass away. However, statistically speaking, you are much more likely to be disabled than to pass away. A power of attorney comes into effect if you are no longer able to look after yourself. There are two types of power of attorney:

What is a Continuing Power of Attorney for Property?

This kind of power of attorney sets out who will look after your finances should you no longer be able to do so on your own. It can range from simple things like paying your bills to complicated matters like dealing with tax issues.

What is a Power of Attorney for Personal Care?

This kind of power of attorney deals with your personal care and health decisions if you are no longer able to do so on your own. Decisions can include what medical treatment you wish to receive (or not receive), or decisions such as whether you should move to a nursing home or have in-home care.

What is a Living Will?

A lot of people ask me for a living will. A living will is where you leave instructions about your medical treatment in case you are unable to make these decisions at the time. In Ontario, these instructions are put into a power of attorney for personal care instead.

What is an attorney?

In this context, Your attorney is the person who looks after you and makes decisions for you when you are no longer able to.

Who should be my attorney?

Someone you trust very much. Typically, one spouse will be the attorney for the other spouse. You should also think about a backup attorney if your initial attorney is unable to act.

What Should I Put in my Power of Attorney?

Generally, I recommend simply to give your attorney a general power to make decisions. The decisions must be made in your best interests. This gives your attorney the power to make decisions as needed at the time that they arise, based on your circumstances, and likely consultation with your physician.

You are permitted to put as much detail as you wish in your power of attorney. If you want to go into detail, it is advisable to discuss matters with a physician, as they are the ones best qualified to deal with health issues and options.

However, to break it down a bit, the main category of decisions would be health issues and how your attorney can deal with them. The main types of illness where people are unable to make decisions on their own would be:
*terminal illnesses

You could discuss with your physician what steps make sense to take in these situations, and what steps don’t make sense – for instance discuss tube feeding, ventilators, blood transfusions, etc.

You can also include decisions about personal care. The biggest decision in this respect would be housing – e.g. nursing home, have a nurse come to you, hospice, etc.

But you can also include anything you want relating to personal care – e.g. food to eat, religious practices, and so forth.

I can prepare powers of attorney for you

Normally this is done at the same time when a person prepares their will. However, there is not obligation or necessity to do it at the same time.


Our fee for a power of attorney for personal care and a power of attorney for property is $150 (+hst).

See our fee schedule for more details.


“Jeffrey simplifies legal talk into something you can easily understand. I have attention deficit disorder. When I would read something, I’d get partway through it and had no idea what I was reading. Jeffrey made it real easy for me. Also, Jeffrey does what he says he will do. You don’t have to check up on him. I never had to call back and ask how it’s going. I knew Jeffrey was working hard on my case and that things were getting done. I have a lot of faith in Jeffrey.”

Myles Tobin

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440 Laurier Avenue West, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7X6

(intersection of Laurier and Lyon)

From the Queensway, take any of the downtown exits, including the Metcalfe Street exit, Kent Street exit, or the Bronson Avenue exit.

You’re Invited to Call or E-Mail!

If you are considering a will, power of attorney, or trust — or have already made your decision — you’re invited to call or email us. We’ll explain how you can protect your loved ones and your assets. You can call us at (613) 519-0320 or email us using our contact form here.