Éducaloi offers comprehensive guides for seniors inquiring about living wills, power of attorney, protection mandates, grandparent rights, fraud and much more.
The following is provided by way of legal information only and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. It is advisable to consult a legal professional for later life legal planning and the preparation of legal documents relating to the care of one’s person and property during one’s lifetime.
A power of attorney is a unilateral contract solely for administration of your finances and property, that lets you name one or more trusted people to act for you. It may be revoked at any time while you are capable. It ceases to have legal effect if you become incapable.
It is advisable to provide for periodic accounting by a trusted and independent third party under the terms of your power of attorney and protection mandate.
A protection mandate is a unilateral contract that lets you name, in advance, one or more people to look after your well-being and manage your property if you become incapable of doing so yourself to such a degree that assistance, support and counseling alone, are no longer sufficient and formal legal representation is required. The person or persons you name to look after your property and finances and the person designated to look after your well-being and health care are called mandataries under both a power of attorney and a protection mandate. While these are different contracts and may be prepared separately, a power of attorney and a protection mandate are often contained in the same legal document.
Your wishes about care may be communicated in writing or verbally and are to be respected. When set forth in writing, wishes about health care, including housing, medical treatment and end of life care, are normally set forth in one’s protection mandate or in a document commonly referred to as a “living will”. One’s wishes, as written, are to be respected even though the protection mandate is not otherwise in effect under a judgment of the court.
The issue is always one of interpretation and clarity of wishes if you are not able to communicate at the relevant time and a member of your family, by law, or someone designated under your protection mandate is called upon to advocate your wishes and values to medical professionals. Communication of health care wishes to doctors and family, on an ongoing basis throughout life, is therefore a good practice.
Certain medical treatments can be accepted or refused in advance under an advance medical directive. These treatments must be respected by medical professionals when you can no longer make medical decisions and in cases where you are suffering an incurable illness and at the end of life, in a coma or permanently unconscious, or suffering from the severe effects of dementia. You may refer to the RAMQ site for a free government form which once completed and signed with a notary or before witnesses may be sent to the RAMQ government registry (Québec health insurance board) and directed to be placed in your medical file.
Medical aid in dying may not be asked for under such a directive.
A person experiencing or wishing to report abuse, solve a problem or seek information on later life legal planning needs a confidential and welcoming place with skilled professionals. The following resources are available at no cost.
Elder Law Clinic
Quebec Human Rights Commission
Ligne Aide Abus Ainés
Greater Montreal Community Justice Center
Legal Aid Montreal Head Office
CAVAC – Crime Victims Assistance Centre