Although most individuals do not like to think or talk about it, planning ahead in the event of an illness or end of life situation can help to ensure that an individual’s wishes are understood and carried out. Technology has the capacity to empower individuals to research and create many of the important documents necessary to communicate their needs and preferences.
In Canada, there are several documents that can help an individual make their wishes known in the event of illness or death. One of those documents is called a Power of Attorney.
According to the Government of Canada, Power of Attorney is “a legal document that you sign to give one person, or more than one person, the authority to manage your money and property on your behalf. In most of Canada, the person you appoint is called an attorney. That person does not need to be a lawyer”. Your attorney can be a relative, friend or someone else of your choosing.
It is important not to be pressured to sign a Power of Attorney before carefully considering all of your options. A Government of Canada website clearly outlines all of the important considerations when creating a Power of Attorney. You should also be aware that in Canada the word ‘attorney’ does not mean lawyer, unlike in the United States.
The names, requirements and laws for Power of Attorney will vary according to the province or territory in which you live. The Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario offers a Powers of Attorney Kit that contains instructions and forms for a Continuing Power of Attorney for Property and a Power of Attorney for Personal Care.
As the Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario stresses “no one can make you sign a power of attorney if you don’t want to. But, if you don’t choose one, the government may have to appoint someone to make certain decisions for you. It’s better if you choose someone you feel you can really trust, who knows your wishes”. Making a Power of Attorney is voluntary.
Technology provides different ways to create, compile, store, and share important documents. Companies such as Principled Heart, Everplans, and AfterSteps utilize technology by creating and organizing digital archives for clients.