Even though the vast majority of Canadians do not actually have a will, most at least recognize the importance of them. The same is not true for powers of attorney, and in particular, the Power of Attorney for Personal Care.
In Ontario, as in many other places, it can be very difficult to manage someone’s care if they do not have a valid power of attorney in place. In order to become someone’s guardian of care, they must be formally declared incapable through a sometimes lengthy and expensive court process. This is true even if the person wrote down their wishes for their care ahead of time; if the proper formalities were not met, there is little that can be done after the fact.
I often tell prospective clients that having a will is the philanthropic act: it is deciding who can have your stuff when you don’t need it any more. A power of attorney document is the selfish act: who is taking care of you when you can’t take care of yourself. It’s critically important. You should have one.