Q.: What is a power of attorney?

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A.:            A Power of Attorney is a document that appoints one or more persons to make financial decisions for you if, at some point in the future, you become infirm or lose the capacity to make those types of decisions for yourself. There is no default in our legislation in Alberta that automatically appoints a person to make these types of decisions for you. Having joint assets with a spouse, common-law partner, or adult child, is not necessarily sufficient in this type of situation. If you do not have a Power of Attorney, and you become infirm or lose capacity (temporarily or permanently), someone will have to apply to the courts to be appointed as your Trustee. This is a slow and expensive process, which you should try to avoid at all costs.