Good estate planning includes preparing for the future in case of unforeseen events. All Albertans should create an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) when they are mentally competent. While this topic may be unpleasant for some, for the sake of your loved ones, this decision is an important one. An Enduring Power of Attorney covers financial and legal decisions that will take effect upon certain events as determined by you.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE AN EPA?
The Province of Alberta recommends that everyone over the age of 18 years or older have an EPA. If you do not and become mentally incapable, a family member or friend will have to retain a lawyer and proceed through the Court process to become your Trustee which then will give them legal authority to manage your financial and personal affairs. The person with the EPA (known as the attorney) has the same authority as the person (known as the donor) to make decisions concerning the property as well as providing for children, spouses, or people dependent on the donor.
HOW DO YOU CHANGE OR END AN EPA?
The financial oversight granted by an EPA ends when the donor dies, with any distribution of the estate dictated by their last Will and Testament. An EPA can be revoked by the donor but only if they have the mental capacity to make that decision. It can also be concluded if a court cancels it, a trusteeship order is granted, or if the attorney dies or loses capacity and there is no alternate attorney to take over.
No matter your stage of life or financial status, having your estate planning documents is important to have in place to assist those close to you to enact your intent and desires for your person and your assets.