Governing Document – In the case of a power of attorney for personal care, it is the power of attorney document which generally does not have to be in any prescribed format. Where a person has been appointed by the court to be the guardian of the person for another, the governing document is the court order which may incorporate things like a management plan with respect to the incapable person’s care.

Other relevant documents for the administration of the grantor’s care can include: advance directives; organ and tissue donation consents; medical records, prescription; receipts for medical services; receipts for lodging in a care facility.

Proof of Authority – For powers of attorney for personal care, in most jurisdictions there is no approval process. Also, there is no registry for powers of attorney for personal care in most jurisdictions. Therefore, establishing the validity of a power of attorney document and whether it is still in effect can be difficult.

Tasks – Every power of attorney for care situation is potentally different so it is important for the attorney to understand not only the general legal rules but the specific requirements for their appointment which is why all relevant documentation needs to be collected up at the start and carefully reviewed. Professional assistance may be needed to understand the contents of the power of attorney document and any other relevant documents.

The primary responsibility of an attorney for personal care is to make health care decisions on behalf of the grantor when he/she is incapable based on the instructions provided by the grantor while capable and as required or permitted by law. However, capacity is rarely absolute and can vary from time to time and with respect to tasks or decisions to be undertaken. Therefore, it is essential for the attorney for care to understand the limits of their authority and work closely with health care providers. Also, the attorney for care needs to understand the grantor’s personal expectations about their care and be prepared to make decision as the grantor would if capable. To the extent the grantor is able to communicate, even if incapable of some or all care decisions, the law in some jurisdictions requires that the grantor be consulted and allowed to participate as fully as possible in the decision making with respect to his/her care. Respect for the dignity of the grantor must be maintained.

Attorneys for care are required to keep a record of all decisions made on behalf of the grantor and related information such as medical appoints, outcomes of tests, prescriptions, treatments undertaken.

This is not a conclusive list and the tasks are not necessarily listed in the order to be completed. Attorneys for care should obtain professional advice to determine exactly what tasks need to be completed in their particular circumstances.

Coming soon – a PDF power of attorney for personal care administration checklist.