LRC Reports

A Short Form General Power of Attorney (1985)

A problem of immediate concern has been drawn to our attention respecting a widely used form of general power of attorney. The efficacy of the words used to create the power has been called into question. In the result, the status of all powers of attorney created in this form, both in British Columbia and in Ontario, and acts done under them, has been rendered somewhat uncertain.

In 1975 the Law Reform Commission submitted its Report on Powers of Attorney and Mental Incapacity (LRC 22). The principal recommendation made was that the law should permit an “enduring power of attorney” which would not terminate on a subsequent legal incapacity relating to the mental condition of the principal. This recommendation was implemented, in substance, through the enactment of section 7 of the Power of Attorney Act, RSBC 1979, c 334.

A minor recommendation made in that Report was that the Act should provide a “standard form” of general power of attorney which would eliminate much of the incomprehensible verbiage contained in most standard form Powers of Attorney sold through legal stationers. A suggested statutory form was set out as Appendix C to the Report. That recommendation was not implemented.

In this regard, the Commission examines the possibility of amending the Power of Attorney Act in a way which removes any doubt as to the validity of powers of attorney in the general form.

Keywords: power of attorney; general; mental; incapacity; incompetence; form;
language; document; instrument

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