The Nova Scotia government has announced new legislation it says will better protect people who choose to use a power of attorney.
The province says amendments to the Powers of Attorney Act modernize and improve the existing legislation. New protections, which were passed in the legislature in April, have been added that clarify rights and responsibilities.
The Powers of Attorney Act was first put in place in 1988 and has had minor amendments since.
Powers of attorney are used by those who wish to appoint a person they trust to make property and financial decisions for them.
The individual granting the powers of attorney, known as the donor, may appoint someone for a period of time. They can also choose to keep the powers of attorney in place if they become incapacitated.
“Nova Scotians who are planning for the future want their finances and other matters to be managed according to their wishes,” said Nova Scotia Justice Minister Brad Johns, in a press release.
“These changes allow for more oversight of those appointed as attorneys, with the intention of being to prevent financial misuse or any type of abuse.”
Barbara Adams, the Nova Scotia minister of seniors and long-term care, says the change will especially help the elderly.
“The changes will bring peace of mind for many older Nova Scotians and help ensure they have the respect and security they deserve. Abuse is unacceptable in any form, and protection from financial abuse, in particular, is a concern for seniors.”
The amendments are now in effect and include:
A list of the donor’s rights and protections, including additional safeguards, such as being able to choose to appoint a monitor to whom the attorney must also report periodically and upon request.
New requirements for the valid execution of a power of attorney, including that it be in writing, dated and witnessed by two people.
Modern concepts of capacity, including an outline of the required approach to decision-making.
The province says more amendments are planned, with the next phase of work including consultations.
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