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Power of attorney


A family member or best friend is capable of understanding and making their own decisions, but would like to entrust you with the management of their affairs, at least temporarily.

A power of attorney could be useful.


You are a caregiver. Does the person you're caring for want to delegate certain tasks that have become too complex, such as managing and paying bills? A power of attorney could give you the right to act on their behalf.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a contract by which one person appoints another to represent them in performing certain acts:

  • day-to-day banking transactions;
  • renewing insurance contracts;
  • signing a rental lease;
  • selling a property;
  • etc.

A power of attorney is useful in a variety of situations, for example, when a physical health issue prevents an individual from leaving their home. In this case, the individual can entrust certain tasks to someone they trust.

There are two types of power of attorney:

  • special or specific power of attorney, issued for a particular matter (e.g., the sale of a house);
  • general power of attorney, which covers the administration of all the principal's affairs by the mandatary (except for certain acts requiring special authorization).

Mini glossary of power of attorney

Mandator: the person who grants power of attorney, to entrust the administration of their affairs to another person.

Mandatary: person who accepts the power of attorney

Mandate: another term used to designate a power of attorney (not to be confused with the protection mandate!)

Special features of the power of attorney

  • A power of attorney can be either verbal or written. However, a written power of attorney is necessary in certain cases (e.g., to make a bank withdrawal), and is safer in the event of disagreement or conflict between the parties.
  • Witnesses are not required when signing the contract.
  • Power of attorney need not be filed with a notary.
  • The mandatary must be a legally competent adult. It may be a relative or a professional.
  • The power of attorney is no longer valid if the mandator becomes incapacitated.
  • The mandator may revoke the power of attorney at any time.

The role of the mandatary

  • The mandatary must agree to the power of attorney.
  • The mandatary is obliged to execute the power of attorney with due diligence, honesty and loyalty, acting in the best interests of the mandator and keeping the mandator informed of acts performed on their behalf.
  • The mandatary must personally execute the power of attorney, unless the mandator authorizes another person to do so.

Power of attorney, protection mandate or assistance measure?

A power of attorney covers only the administration of a capable person’s property. Powers of attorney, protection mandates and assistance measures should not be confused. These three distinct legal instruments are designed to meet different needs.

Practical resources

Autorité des marchés financiers

Chambre des notaires du Québec

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