In the past year, I have had several clients’ affairs taken over by family members as they have aged and could not handle routine matters by themselves. But over the last month, I have been faced with a significantly more difficult situation. My client suddenly collapsed – he suffered a stroke and at an early age. This was completely unexpected and he has been unable to communicate, even write, since the stroke.
This presents his family with a difficult problem – he has no power of attorney prepared. There is no way for any of his family to handle his affairs without a power of attorney. His bank has had to put his accounts into trust. I, as his tax preparer, can prepare, but can’t file his tax return. I need a signature from an authorized individual and no one is permitted to sign.
In this case, it may be possible to arrange with the courts to be appointed as the administrator, but there are costs and, quite frankly, there is no guarantee that the person appointed as administrator would be someone that the individual wants.
Had he arranged for a power of attorney beforehand, the matter could have easily been taken case of without any difficulty. The paperwork can easily be found at the links below. In this case, it will take several months before his affairs can be attended to.
For that reason, I highly recommend that all individuals, even those in their early 20s, appoint someone to hold their power of attorney. For more information, please check out these pages with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and the Quebec Justice Department.