What to Know About Power of Attorney Across Provincial Borders

Sep 10, 2018 12:00:00 PM The MacMillan Estate Planning Team Estate Planning, personalized estate plan, power of attorney

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Managing your estate is a process filled with complex legal considerations. It can be complicated further when variations in regional law intersect or conflict with one another. As an example, let’s take a look at how power of attorney is affected across provinces in Canada.  

Basic Overview

Power of attorney is one of the most influential components of an estate plan. Broadly speaking, granting power of attorney to an individual or organization gives them the right to act on your behalf in legal and financial proceedings if you are indisposed and unable to act on your own. However, because laws in different provinces are structured and administered in different ways, power of attorney granted in one province may not be valid in another unless certain conditions are met. This is particularly relevant for anyone who resides part time in another province, is moving between provinces, owns assets in more than once province, or other similar circumstances.

What Does It Mean?

In short, you shouldn’t assume that because you’ve gone through the process of granting power of attorney where you currently live that it will carry over into another jurisdiction. For instance, if you typically live in Alberta, where you drafted and signed power of attorney regarding personal care directives, and you become incapacitated shortly after relocating to your other property in B.C., there is no guarantee that your Alberta-granted power of attorney will be upheld for healthcare decisions made on your behalf in B.C.

What Should You Do?

The best way to account for these variations is to work with estate planning experts who are knowledgeable in the laws regarding power of attorney within all provinces that are relevant to your estate. Another important factor to note is that different forms of power of attorney are affected in different ways. For instance, in many provinces a given power of attorney regarding property will be granted as valid if it complies with the laws of the province in which it was signed, while powers of attorney for personal care are only valid if they comply with the laws of the province in which they’re actually being utilized. As usual in estate planning, staying proactive is everything.

With extensive knowledge in the legal and financial complexities of estate planning, our team can build the best plan for you and your family. We will always do so with the sensitivity and compassion that the process demands. Call 1-833-266-6464 for a free consultation today.


At MacMillan Estate Planning, our team of professional trust and estate practitioners, chartered accountants, financial planners, and legal professionals look forward to assisting you with the design of your estate plan and will ensure you build, protect, and enjoy your wealth. The information provided is general and may not be suited to your objectives or sufficient to ensure the protection of you and your family. You should not act on this information without providing MacMillan Estate Planning with the opportunity to ensure that it is suitable for your unique situation.


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