Powers of Attorney & Representation Agreements

Other than a Will which only deals with assets after someone has passed away, there are two primary legal documents for people to consider when doing estate planning: the enduring power of attorney and the representation agreement.

A power of attorney is an enduring power of attorney is it stays in effect once the person who is granting the power loses capacity. The power of attorney is used for financial matters such as buying or selling assets including real estate and banking.

A representation agreement is used to deal with issues such as who you would like to have the legal authority to make medical or personal care decisions on your behalf. In order to empower your Representative with the fullest of powers allowed under the Representation Agreement Act, the representation agreement must be witnessed by a lawyer. A representative named in a representation agreement can also be given many powers that overlap with powers given under a power of attorney.

It should be noted that any existing powers of attorney are not automatically revoked by a representation agreement or by divorce. Both the power of attorney and the representation agreement are excellent estate planning tools, particularly if a person subsequently becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. This article is for general information only, and should not be relied on as legal advice in any particular case. Consult a lawyer for advice on your case.

by Rod Mont