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Ontario's Power of Attorney for Personal Care Guide

Ontario's Power of Attorney for Personal Care: Understand its importance, setup process, and how it protects your interests.

Ontarios Power of Attorney for Personal Care Guide

The unpredictable nature of life can result in worry about what would happen if you could not make personal decisions. These uncertainties brought about by an illness or accident can be unsettling. Fortunately, Ontario takes care of these concerns using the Power of Attorney for Personal Care.

The Power of Attorney for Personal Care safeguards your interests by assigning powers to a trusted person to make healthcare and personal decisions on your behalf. This document ensures your voice is heard even when you are mentally incapacitated or in a coma.

So, what exactly is a POA for personal care? How do you set it up? What are the roles and responsibilities of the attorney, and can you revoke or change these roles and responsibilities or even the attorney themselves? These are the concerns we will address today in this comprehensive guide. Let's begin by giving you a clearer definition of POA for personal care.

Key Takeaways:

  • A Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POAPC) assigns a trusted person to make decisions for you if you become mentally incapable.
  • POAPC covers varied personal care and healthcare decisions as per your needs and desires.
  • Establishing a POAPC in Ontario involves understanding legal requirements, choosing an attorney, completing forms, and signing with witnesses.
  • The attorney's duties include advocating for your wishes, maintaining records, and communicating with relevant parties.
  • POAPCs can be updated or revoked by following appropriate legal procedures.

What is the Ontario Power of Attorney for Personal Care?

A Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POAPC), sometimes called a personal power of attorney, is a legal document in which you, as the grantor, appoint another person, known as the attorney, to make decisions on your behalf when you become mentally incapable.

The individual you choose can be a close friend, family member, a professional related to you, or anyone you trust. The POAPC grants your attorney permission to make decisions about the following:

  • Personal care: This includes where you'll live, what you'll eat, who will help you with personal tasks like bathing and dressing, and how to keep you safe.
  • Healthcare: This covers decisions about medical treatments and how long you'll need services like home care.

Remember, this isn't everything. The POAPC can cover other things too, depending on what you need and want.

Now, what does it mean to be mentally incapable? It means you can't make decisions well or understand what could happen because of your decisions. This could be due to dementia, mental illness, intellectual disabilities, being unconscious, or cognitive decline related to aging.

Sometimes, people can get better and start making decisions again. This could happen if their health condition improves or if they were only temporarily affected by a medical treatment. But getting back the legal ability to make decisions can be a bit complicated. It usually involves a check-up by a healthcare professional and might even require some legal steps, depending on the situation.

The Difference Between Power of Attorney for Personal Care and Other Types of Power of Attorney

General POAPC



Continuing POAPC

Special/Limited POAPC



Broad authority over personal care

Limited authority and specific to situations outlined in the document

Broad authority over personal care

Limited authority for specific decisions

Mental Incapacity Requirement

Begins when you become mentally incapable

Doesn't require you to be mentally incapable but is used for temporary situations like surgery

Comes into effect when the grantor is mentally incapable

Doesn't require you to be mentally incapable but is used for specific situations

Duration of Authority

Remains valid until revoked or upon your demise

Limited duration as specified in the document

Stops working when you revoke it, or you pass away

Used for the specific situation defined in the document

Why Do You Need a Power of Attorney for Personal Care?

You need a Power of Attorney for Personal Care if you suddenly fall ill or are involved in a serious accident that incapacitates you for a temporary duration. A POAPC ensures your personal needs are met even in this state.

As you age, POAPC becomes helpful because you may lose the ability to make well-thought-out decisions about sensitive matters like healthcare. In addition, end-of-life care also requires you to have someone who can make difficult decisions on your behalf in alignment with your wishes. Other benefits of having a Power of Attorney for Personal Care are:

  • Ensures you specify your wishes in advance and the attorney communicates them to the people involved. POAPC helps you control your medical treatments, living arrangements, and other matters dear to you.
  • Addresses potential conflicts that may arise as family members and healthcare providers grapple with what action to take. A POAPC prevents serious disagreements which may delay appropriate care and lead to a court battle.
  • In a general POAPC, the parties involved may try to coerce the attorney to choose a particular option. But a well-defined document helps the attorney maintain consistency in decision-making with minimal influence or interruptions.
  • Provides peace of mind knowing that you have chosen a trusted person to handle your personal and healthcare care issues. It also gives you confidence in knowing what would happen to you in case of mental incapacitation.

How to Set Up a Power of Attorney for Personal Care in Ontario

Setting up a Power of Attorney for Personal Care is a relatively simple process in Ontario. The government provides a detailed guidebook containing a POAPC form at the end. The steps to take in making a legally binding POAPC are as follows:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the legal requirements for creating a POAPC by reading the POA guidelines. Also, check the specific rules in the Substitute Decision Act on the Ontario Service page.
  2. Consider and choose a trusted and responsible person to act as your attorney for personal care. Talk to them about your values and preferences and assess if they have understood your wishes.
  3. Obtain the required forms to create a POAPC in Ontario. Use this link to download the booklet with information about POAPC and the form to fill out.
  4. Fill out the forms by providing your details and the attorney's details. Specify any conditions that would make the POAPC clear and easy to follow. A qualified assessor should complete the mental capacity form.
  5. Look for two witnesses above eighteen years who will witness you sign. They should not be a family member or the attorney you've chosen.
  6. Sign the forms in the presence of the witnesses and let them sign their section as having witnessed you sign.
  7. Distribute copies to relevant parties as you explain what it means and your desire that they respect the wishes stated in the document.
  8. Review and update the documents as often as necessary with the help of an estate planning professional.

As you make your POA for personal care, remember to avoid mistakes that may undermine or invalidate its effectiveness. For instance, do not be too vague when giving instructions or outlining your wishes. You must also ensure you execute the document according to Ontario laws.

Therefore, research carefully or hire a professional to ensure you have included everything and followed proper procedure. Other legal requirements and considerations to have in mind as you draft your POAPC are:

  • You must be above 18 years and of sound mind
  • An assessor must complete the "confirmation of incapacity" form when applicable
  • You must have two witnesses present, and both should be above 18 years
  • You can store the POAPC in written or electronic form

Roles and Responsibilities of the Attorney for Personal Care

The attorney for personal care, also known as a substitute decision-maker, adopts important duties once they accept the role. The following are the main roles and responsibilities your attorney for personal care will perform:

  • Act as your advocate in communicating your wishes and preferences regarding your personal care.
  • Execute your wishes to the best of their knowledge and ensure everyone else adheres to it.
  • Be loyal to you and act in good faith in prioritizing your interest over their own or others.
  • Communicate regularly with you if you can understand the information. In addition to collaborating with other relevant parties who wish to understand your decisions.
  • Maintain accurate and detailed records of the decisions made, procedures done, and changes effected.
  • Provide and withhold consent for healthcare treatments.

It may be necessary to seek guidance from an experienced professional to help you grant the right powers and understand the legal obligations of the attorney for personal care.

Revoking or Changing a Power of Attorney for Personal Care

In Ontario, you have the right to change or revoke a Power of Attorney for Personal Care if your relationship with the attorney takes a new turn, you want to change some preferences, you have concerns about misconduct, or your mental capacity has improved. The steps to change or revoke a POAPC are as follows:

  1. Review the current POAPC and confirm what you would like to retain and how much you want to change.
  2. Make a new document stating that you have revoked the previous POAPC and specifying which areas have been revoked or changed.
  3. Inform the attorney and relevant parties of your intentions to change or revoke the POAPC.
  4. Draft a new POAPC document following the same procedure discussed above.
  5. Distribute the new POAPC to the people who need to be aware of the updated version.

Revoking or changing a Power of Attorney for Personal Care should be done with the same care as if you were drafting a new POAPC. Ensure you include all the details to avoid legal repercussions in case of a disagreement with the previous attorney.

ClearEstate Can Help.

Establishing a POA for personal care in Ontario is essential in ensuring those involved respect your personal and healthcare wishes. A valid POAPC remains effective unless you revoke it, the specific task ends, or upon your demise.

To ensure you follow Ontario laws and regulations, it is in your best interest to work with an estate planning professional who can provide valuable guidance to your specific needs and circumstances.

At ClearEstate, we ensure your Power of Attorney for Personal Care reflects your wishes and complies with Ontario laws. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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