A recent CBC news article illustrates the importance of careful consideration in the choice of your power of attorney for property.
A power of attorney for property is a powerful legal document.
Unless the power of attorney for property has restrictions within the document on the legal authority given to the power of attorney a power of attorney for property can, at law, do anything with respect to the assets of the person giving the power of attorney save and except make a Will on behalf of that person.
In the CBC article an elderly woman had appointed an acquaintance who had been a coworker as her power of attorney for property.
The power of attorney arranged for the elderly woman to be moved from her apartment into a seniors’ residence.
The power of attorney ultimately removed $78,000 from the elderly woman’s accounts to her own benefit.
The power of attorney was charged criminally with several counts of theft under and theft over $5000.
The take away from this unfortunate situation is to be careful who you entrust with your power of attorney for property.
In the majority of situations family members are chosen for this role.
It may be prudent to appoint two powers of attorney for property so that there is oversight in place over the conduct of the power of attorney.
Barrie Hayes, Partner