We often focus on our client’s particular circumstances and assets when we meet to discuss estate planning. A topic that should not be overlooked is a client’s appointment and responsibility for others under powers of attorney for care and or property.
Given the times we live in it is often the case that family members are spread across the province, the country and the world. Location, location, location is not only important in real estate matters but also in estate matters. The focus when drafting is often on where the appointed POA lives and their location may have a significant impact on the choice of attorney. Sometimes there is no other choice to be made and the client is content to deal with the issues which arise with having an attorney in another jurisdiction. Generally speaking, taxation issues aside, a power of attorney document drafted for a resident of Ontario, with an attorney located outside of the province will be valid and recognized. So why am I blogging about this?
When my mother was failing I wanted her to live closer to me as I could not relocate to where she lived and continue with my practice. I expect this is the case for many family members. When acting as POAs we often want to be close to our family member. If we can’t move to where our family member lives we often enter into the discussion of moving our family member to our location. If the family member is still capable then they should immediately update their powers of attorney to be compliant with the legislation in the province to which they have been relocated. If the family member is no longer capable then I suggest before organizing a move the POA consults with a lawyer in the jurisdiction where the family member will take up their new residence to determine whether the family members existing documents will be recognized and if not recognized, what if any alternatives are available. Relocating is a monumental task and should not be undertaken without doing proper due diligence to avoid any unfortunate consequences.
As I note above, many changes associated with the vagaries of life make it sensible to take a 360 view at potential practical but also legal consequences. Ensuring that we have a grip on potential technical issues in the protection of our loved ones is one of them.
This blog post was written by Heather Austin-Skaret, a Partner in the Wills and Estates, Estate Litigation and Real Estate teams. She can be reached at 613-369-0356 or at Heather.Austin-Skaret@mannlawyers.com.