What’s the difference between a Power of Attorney and a Representation Agreement and do I need both?

These are both critically important documents and serve different purposes. 

Power of attorney #

The enduring power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint a trusted family member, friend or advisor, to make your legal and financial decisions. This authority to act on your behalf can save your loved ones significant cost and stress should you be unable to manage your own legal and financial affairs. It will also give you the comfort of knowing that your matters are being handled as you wish.

There are various types of powers of attorney and we encourage clients to seek help in defining their needs and identifying any limits that may be appropriate.  

Representation agreements  #

A representation agreement allows you to appoint a trusted family, member, friend or advisor to make decisions for you about your personal care, health care and end of life decisions if you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. Again, this authority and knowledge of your wishes helps eliminate some of the decision-making stress for your loved ones and ensures that only those authorized can impact your care or medical treatment.

There are two types of representation agreements, standard and enhanced. The standard agreement provides authority to make decisions, with some limitations, for you regarding routine financial matters such as paying bills, personal care, healthcare and legal decisions. The enhanced agreement is more encompassing and provides the ability to direct day to day decisions, and health and personal care decisions, including some end-of-life decisions.As of January 1, 2023, amendments to the Power of Attorney Act and the Representation Agreement Act now permit remote electronic witnessing of the signing of enduring powers of attorney and representation agreements. The amendments require the lawyer be in the electronic presence of the person signing an enduring power of attorney or representation agreement, and the agreements must include a statement indicating it was signed.

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