Depending on the manner in which the Enduring Power of Attorney is prepared, it can either be “immediate” or “springing”. You choose whether to allow the person you appoint as your attorney to exercise his or her power immediately after the EPA is signed, or only upon your incapacity.
Immediate Power of Attorney
With an immediate Power of Attorney, the Attorney’s powers come into effect immediately upon signing. Although you continue to have access to all your assets and control over them, your Attorney too has the authority to deal with your business and financial matters. An immediate Power of Attorney gives you the convenience of having someone else sign documents or cheques for you now, even though you are still capable of managing your affairs. This option can be a valuable tool for individuals who are away for extended periods of time and is also commonly used for Donors who have mobility issues or for Donors who find themselves burdened by the responsibilities of the management of their affairs, and would benefit by the assistance of an Attorney.
Springing Power of Attorney
With a springing Power of Attorney, your Attorney’s powers come into effect only if and when you lose the capacity to handle your own financial affairs. Typically, the Power of Attorney specifies how it will be determined that you have lost this capacity. For example, you can state that the declaration of a single physician is required to establish that you have lost capacity or you can specify some other triggering event within the Power of Attorney.
If the Power of Attorney does not state how incapacity is to be determined, or if the triggering event for some reason cannot be met (for example, the EPA states that the declaration of a named family doctor is required, and he or she has died or retired or is not available), then the provisions of the legislation govern the matter, and the written declaration of two physicians will be required. Regardless of whether you grant powers immediately or postpone your attorney’s authority to a future time, the powers granted to the Attorney will continue should you become mentally incapacitated.