A power of attorney is a legal document where one person gives another person
the power and authority to act on his or her behalf.
The person giving the power is called the donor; the person receiving it is
called the "donee" or "agent".
A power of attorney typically refers to the power to make financial and
property decisions. Typically a different legal document is used for
decisions about personal care, although in some provinces such as New
Brunswick, personal care and financial matters can be in the same
There are several different types of powers of attorney in Canada.
Each province uses slightly different language, and very importantly, each has
different laws for making and relying on these powerful documents.
However powers of attorney can be divided into two broad
categories; a) those that start immediately and b) those that start or continue
even if the person becomes mentally incapable.
- general power of attorney -the other person has the power to manage
your finances and property only while you are mentally capable. It starts
- specific or special power of attorney -the other person has the
power to manage your finances and property only for a specific transaction
(sell this car) or a limited time (while you are out of the country)
- continuing or enduring powers of attorney -are in effect before the
donor becomes mentally incapable and continue afterwards and
- springing powers of attorney - first come into effect only once a
donor become mentally incapable and continue afterwards.
Western Canada Law Reform Agencies (2008)
Enduring Power of Attorney Areas for
Reform. Also available at:
Continuing Power of Attorney for Property
- Description: This pamphlet explains what a continuing power of attorney
for property is, reasons to make one, and what can happen if the person does
not have a continuing power of attorney. Written by the Advocacy Centre for
the Elderly and CLEO.
of Attorney for Personal Care (2008) 24 pages
- Description: This pamphlet explains what a Power of Attorney for Personal
Care is, reasons to make one, and what can happen if you do not. Topics
include how to make a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, when an attorney
can make decisions, the types of decisions they can make, and where to get
forms, legal information, and help. Written by the Advocacy Centre for the
Elderly and CLEO.
Oaknet (Older Adult Knowledge Network)
Public Legal Association of Saskatchewan.
Power of Attorney.
- Description: This pamphlet explains what a Power of Attorney is, who can
make one, types, duties of the person given the power of attorney;
explains the different between personal power of attorney and power of
attorney for property.
Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia
Power of Attorney December 2005
- Description: This pamphlet explains what a Power of Attorney is, types, how of power of attorney ends, the risks of a power of attorney,
and what can be done if the power is misused.
Public Legal Education and Information Society of New Brunswick.
- Description: This pamphlet explains what a Power of Attorney is, the
various types (for property and personal care), changing an existing power of
attorney into an enduring power of attorney, duties of the person given the
authority, revoking a power of attorney.
given in anticipation of incapacity Prepared by Éducaloi.
- Description: In this Infosheet, Éducaloi explains mandates given in
anticipation of incapacity: what they are, the forms they can take and the
steps to follow.
Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association
Advance Care Planning-Definitions 2008
- Description: describes advance planning and advance care
directives; identifies the terms used for care directives within each
province; provides a glossary of common terms.