We received a number of questions about Power of Attorney information following the Pension Confirmation process earlier this year. Many of you may have Power of Attorney documents that are not yet in force, or that are for Personal Care, and wonder if the Plan requires these documents each year.
Please read the Q & A below to learn more, and if your question isn’t answered, be sure to contact us. Note that this information does not constitute legal advice, but is meant to explain the CAAT Pension Plan’s requirements as they relate to the specific section of the Pension Confirmation form.
Q. What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives the holder (referred to as the Attorney) the authority to act on your behalf in matters relating to your property or personal care. You can name anyone as your Attorney, and you can have separate Powers of Attorney for property and for personal care. For the CAAT Pension Plan, only the Power of Attorney for Property is relevant. The Plan does not need information about the Power of Attorney for Personal Care.
Q. When does the Plan need a copy of my Power of Attorney for Property?
Provided you have the required mental capacity, a Power of Attorney for Property can be written at any time. Depending on how it is structured, it may take effect immediately, or it may only come into effect on a specific date or following a specific event (e.g. you become mentally incapacitated), as outlined in the document itself. If someone is to act on your behalf in respect of the CAAT Plan, we require a Power of Attorney for Property that is valid and operative.
Q. What does it mean to be ‘valid and operative’?
To be ‘valid and operative’, the Power of Attorney for Property must be currently in effect, based on the date or event specified in the document. This means that the Attorney named in the Power of Attorney for Property is currently enabled to handle your financial affairs (e.g. signing cheques, making payments).
Q. Why does my Attorney have to send the Plan a copy of the document?
The holder of your valid and operative Power of Attorney for Property is authorized to update the Plan with any changes to your address or the banking information we have on file. To ensure the holder has the right to make such changes on your behalf, we need to confirm the Power of Attorney for Property as part of our due diligence.
Q. What other documentation may be required?
Sometimes the Power of Attorney for Property refers to other documentation to confirm that it is valid and operative. For example, a Power of Attorney for Property document may require a note from a doctor indicating that it is in effect. In this case, the Attorney must provide the Plan with a copy of the doctor’s note as well. If they do not, the Plan may ask them to provide it.
Note that for the purposes of confirming your pension, the Plan does not require a copy of your will or your Power of Attorney for Personal Care.
Q. What does the Plan do with the Power of Attorney for Property?
Once we receive a copy of your Power of Attorney for Property along with the Pension Confirmation form completed and signed by the Attorney, we retain these documents in your file. We ask that the Pension Confirmation form be completed and returned to us each year. We do not need another copy of your Power of Attorney for Property as long as it remains in force. The holder of your valid and operative Power of Attorney for Property simply checks the box on the form, affirming that one has been previously sent and that it continues to be valid.
Q. What if there is no valid and operative Power of Attorney for Property document?
If you are able to complete and sign the form yourself, then no Power of Attorney for Property is needed. However, where a member is incapacitated and there is no Power of Attorney for Property, we will work with the member’s caregiver on obtaining other forms of acceptable confirmation.