Why set up a power of attorney?
One of the main purposes of setting up a power of attorney1 is to appoint someone else to take care of your money and personal property while you’re alive, but physically (not applicable in Quebec) or mentally unable to manage your affairs yourself.
Having a power of attorney is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family—to protect your own financial future as well as the future of your loved ones. We can guide you through the process.
Our power of attorney services
Speaking with a professional to discuss your power of attorney and who will act on your behalf can help provide peace of mind about what the future may bring. At RBC Royal Trust, we can provide the answers, support and guidance you need.
Our services include:
- Acting as an attorney to manage the property of a person who has become incapable (the "donor")2
- Giving assistance to individuals who have been named attorney by taking on some or all administrative duties
- Providing access to professional investment management as needed
- Advising on the benefits of naming alternate and co-attorneys to help ensure your wishes are carried out
- Preparing tax returns and making any necessary payments
- Selling property and organizing household goods and personal effects
- Providing impartial and empathetic support for individuals named attorney
- Safekeeping and consolidating accounts and personal property
Appointing us as your attorney
Having an experienced professional at your side can provide welcome assistance during a difficult and challenging time. An RBC Royal Trust professional can act as your attorney should you become incapable.
This is ideal for individuals who:
- Have no suitable friends or family members who can act on their behalf
- Are struggling with a challenging family situation
- Haven't prepared and signed an enduring power of attorney, or a protection mandate in Quebec, as the courts could appoint someone for you
- Feel the process is too complicated for family or friends
- Have appointed RBC Royal Trust3 as executor/liquidator and who also wish to have us manage their financial affairs should they become incapable
How to choose an attorney
Your attorney will have tremendous power over your life. Choosing the right person to act on your behalf is an important decision—one you should base on careful consideration of a number of factors.
To make sure your finances and property are managed properly, choose someone who:
- Understands you and your values
- Can handle—and ideally minimize—any potential family conflicts
- Is trustworthy and can reliably carry out your wishes
- Lives close by and preferably in the same city
- Is likely to survive you yet is mature enough to have sound judgment
Because acting as an attorney is a great responsibility, it’s important to inform the person you’ve chosen that you’re appointing them. This will ensure they’re willing and able to carry out the required duties, should the need arise.
Acting as an attorney?
Acting as an attorney (under a power of attorney) is an important responsibility, and it can be overwhelming—especially if you’re caring for a loved one at the same time. Other circumstances, such as family dynamics and time constraints, can also add to the complexity.
If you’ve been appointed as an attorney, your overall responsibility is to act honestly, in good faith and in the best interests of the person who appointed you (the "donor").
The duties of an attorney can vary by province or territory. Responsibilities include:
- Acting in the best interests of the donor. Involve the donor in decisions when possible and make sure all decisions would reflect the donor’s wishes.
- Managing and safeguarding property. Take an inventory of all the donor’s personal property and take the necessary steps to secure them.
- Keeping detailed records of all transactions involving the donor’s personal property and ensuring tax returns are filed.
- Paying expenses on the donor’s behalf for their support and care, and for the support and care of any dependents, where applicable.
- Communicating openly with the donor and their family. Ensure that you and the donor (and their family) have a mutual understanding of your role and the donor’s expectations.
How we can help
If you feel overwhelmed by the duties or lack the time and expertise required to fulfill your role, we’re here to help. We can assist you with some or all the tasks involved, allowing you to spend more time with your loved ones.
You can take comfort knowing RBC Royal Trust professionals are handling the day-to-day responsibilities with care and attention, while you retain decision-making authority.
1 Terminology varies by province. “Protection mandate” in Quebec, “power of attorney” in the rest of Canada. In Quebec, the “mandator” is the person who sets up the protection mandate and the “mandatary” is the person being appointed; in the rest of Canada, the appointee is considered the “attorney.”
2 In most jurisdictions across Canada, the person who sets up the power of attorney is known as the “donor” and the individual chosen to act on the donor’s behalf is called the “attorney.”
3 Please note our legal entity, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada or The Royal Trust Company (in Quebec) is named in a Will or power of attorney/mandate in case of incapacity document when we are appointed.