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Incapacity Archives

Medically Assisted Dying in Canada - An Update

In April 2017, the CBC reported that over 1,300 people in Canada have died with medical assistance since the Criminal Code was amended in 2016 to legalize medical assistance in dying ("MAID"). While this statistic points to the importance of MAID for many Canadians, the new legislation has not settled the ongoing debate concerning the right to die. Recent litigation on various fronts has highlighted continuing controversies, including questions about the role of medical professionals in MAID, limitations on who will have access to medically assisted dying, and ambiguity in the criteria for access.

Fiduciaries, Mom and Apple Pie

One question that we are frequently asked is "When does my role as an attorney for property begin?" Often this question comes from an adult child, who wants to know either when they should start helping Mom or when they can start helping Dad with paying bills, making investment decisions, etc. It usually arises because the child sees that Mom or Dad needs a little (or a little more) help now, and they want to make sure that the parent who took care of them is now taken care of in turn.

Processes for Activating Powers of Attorney - Do You Know Where Your Documents Are?

Those of you who watch U.S. network T.V. news at night are probably familiar with the catchphrase "It's 11 (or 10) o'clock. Do you know where your children are?". Many comedic versions of this phrase have been coined over the years, and it has become part of our modern pop culture. Despite the obvious satirical uses, the message can still be a serious one, reminding us to check on those things most important to us, which we can sometimes lose sight of in our busy lives. Like so many things, powers of attorney for property and personal care are sometimes overlooked until they are most needed, and then finding and using them can sometimes prove challenging.

A New Protective Regime for an Aging Society?

If you have a child or spouse, you may be surprised to learn that you have no automatic right to manage their property should they become incapable and unable to make decisions unaided. Capable adults in Ontario can make a continuing power of attorney for property to allow one or more persons to make financial decisions for them if they become unable to make such decisions for themselves. However, if your spouse or child did not make a continuing power of attorney for property before becoming incapable (or if your child was never able to make one), then you will most likely have to apply to Court to be appointed your family member's guardian of property in order to manage their property.

Stepping Into an Incapable Person's Shoes

We are undoubtedly in the early stages of a surge of a substantial segment of the Canadian population reaching ages when capacity issues will start surfacing for some. With advances being made every day in all areas of health care, we will be faced with an aging population living for increased periods of time in potentially varying states of diminished capacity. A corollary of this scenario should mean that in future we will have more people assuming the role of substitute decision maker for individuals with impaired capacity-either acting as an attorney under a power of attorney or as a court-appointed guardian.