Who should speak on your behalf in the event you’re incapacitated by illness or injury? Quite literally, your very life would hang in the balance as loved ones debate “what you would want.” Fortunately, before such a tragic circumstance could befall you, a power of attorney for personal care can be established granting one trusted individual legal authority over your personal care and medical treatment should you become incapacitated.
Under this definitive document, the loved one in whom you vest this trust will have final say over your diet, ongoing medical care, living arrangements, and should such circumstances come to pass, whether or not you are to be kept alive via artificial means.
Without such an explicit, written order, it falls upon the government to appoint a decision-maker on your behalf. Such appointments have previously given way to highly emotional legal battles that tear loved ones apart, often over end-of-life decisions from which there is no turning back.
Don’t hesitate. Ontario’s Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee’s downloadable kit can guide you and a knowledgeable, conscientious legal representative through the drafting process. There is no legal obligation to establish a power of attorney. Your document should make your wishes explicitly clear. Do not finalize this document without first undergoing a review process with a lawyer and taking into account the full ramifications of the decision-making power you’re handing to a loved one.