5. Put your Power of Attorney in writing

Here are 3 ways to make a :

  1. Use CLEO’s Power of Attorney Guided Pathway. This is a free online interview that helps you create a Power of Attorney.
  2. Use a Power of Attorney kit. You can get a free one from the Ministry of the Attorney General. There are others you can buy online or at stores. But be sure the kit is based on the law in Ontario. Each province and territory has its own laws about Powers of Attorney.
  3. Use a lawyer. This will cost more but the lawyer will make sure that your Power of Attorney follows the law.

Sign it

You must sign your Power of Attorney in front of 2 witnesses. The witnesses must also sign. And all 3 of you have to be together for the whole process.

Because of COVID-19, it can be difficult to have your witnesses in the same place as you when you sign your Power of Attorney. In response, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) has said that when it’s not possible to witness a document in person, it can be done by video conference.

The LSO has a Remote Commissioning Checklist that explains how to do this.

The witnesses can be anyone except:

  • your , partner, child, or someone you treat as your child, such as a stepchild you have not adopted but who you support
  • your attorney or your attorney’s spouse or partner
  • someone under the age of 18
  • someone who has a because they’re not of managing their property
  • someone who has a because they’re not mentally capable of making decisions about their personal care

Keep it safe

You do not have to register your Power of Attorney with the government or anywhere else.

It’s important to put your Power of Attorney somewhere safe and let your attorney know where to find it. Give them a copy. Usually, your attorney will not be able to start acting for you until they have the original or a notarized copy of your Power of Attorney. A notarized copy is a copy that has been certified as a true copy of the original.

It’s a good idea to give your attorney information about your money and property. Keep the list up to date and include information about:

  • bank accounts, including the name of the bank and account numbers
  • insurance plans, including the name of the company and the policy number
  • any retirement plans
  • things you lease or rent, such as a car or apartment
  • valuable items that you own
  • items that have sentimental value for you

You can also make a list of your:

  • dependants, including children younger than 18
  • agreements you have to pay somebody money, such as a rental agreement with your landlord

Make copies and tell people who your attorney is

It’s a good idea to make copies of your Power of Attorney. Keep track of how many copies you make and who you give those copies to, for example banks and other financial institutions. This helps to stop someone from using your Power of Attorney in a wrong way.

Think about telling other family members who your attorney is. This can help avoid surprises and family tensions.

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