Powers of Attorney and Dementia.

Powers of Attorney and Dementia.

There is some circular logic associated with Powers of Attorney (POAs) and dementia. In order to surrender your decision-making, you must be able to fully understand your actions, and the implications associated with them.

Once you or your spouse have become mentally incapacitated, it is too late to make investment decisions, including the transfer of signing or trading authority through a POA.

There are two elements; POA creation and POA use, that both require mental capability to enact.

A quick and easy solution would be to sign a POA as soon as possible, before any questionable behaviour is exhibited. You must be able to understand what you are doing when establishing the POA, and be able to understand when it is time to enact the POA. If a person is displaying dementia symptoms, it may already be too late to enact either of these steps.

To establish or execute a POA, legal intervention may be required once incapacity has been established. Recent examples have indicated that it is not appropriate for the incapacitated person to declare that they are incapacitated! They are not able to do so, and allowing a spouse to declare it, can also be problematic. In extreme cases a trustee may need to be appointed, and as your Advisor, I will then take direction from this person.

If you suspect dementia, or are worried about its onset, we should have a conversation as soon as possible. To make an initial assessment of your situation, speak with your family doctor, or visit a reputable medical website like the Mayo Clinic.

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