When There is No POA for Care

Originally published at allaboutestates.ca on May 13, 2015

We are seeing more and more seniors who are outliving their family and friends whom they had named as their POA and are now alone. Fortunately, when the banks are named as POA for property, they are able to step in and  start acting when needed.  However where does the Bank go for their direction on how their client’s money should be spent if the client is no longer capable and there is no POA for personal care? This raises several issues including:

  • When is capacity  challenged and by whom?
  • Can the bank require that a POA for care be named at the time they are named?
    How does the bank know what the client needs in terms of health care planning?
  • How can the trust officer be assured that their client is living as well as they can, especially as their client is aging and their capacity starts to be compromised?
  • At what point is the office of the PGT  called in?
  • How does care dictate where money should be spent when there is  concern of capacity and no available POA making these care decisions?

These are issues I can only assume are faced by financial institutions on a daily basis and as the number of seniors continue to grow and  age, the need for clear direction will become even greater.

I am reaching out to readers of this blog to see if  there  are guidelines and a consistent policy or practice across the Canadian banking/trust/financial industries when dealing with matters involving POA and capacity.

Often times care managers are brought in by the banks/trust companies  so that the trust officer can get a good understanding of how their client is doing, ensuring that their care needs are being well met and that money is being spent on appropriate resources. Most times it includes developing a  Plan of Care so that their care needs can be anticipated.  In 11 years of this work  I have not found  there to be to a consistent practice of how some of these decisions are made , when they are made and by whom.

Understanding your client’s wishes and care needs once again reminds me of the importance of planning ahead, really knowing your client and  the importance of ensuring the proper paperwork is in place- in advance.

I look forward to your comments.

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