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Power of Attorney Signing Authority for Parents Who Are of Sound Mind

I met with a debtor a while back who came in on behalf of his parents. He held a Power of Attorney for them both and also the Executor of their estates. He had recently found out that his mother had incurred a lot of debt in her name and she did not want her husband to find out about it. The son wanted to file a bankruptcy for his mother but did not want her to have to be present to sign any of the documentation, as he was worried that the situation would upset her greatly. When asked, it was noted that both his parents were of sound mind and in good health.

He provided us with a copy of the Power of Attorney to review. The son was advised that he did not have signing authority for his mother unless he could provide a Court Order showing she was incompetent, and stating that she was not of sound mind or health to be able to sign the documentation. The son stated that the only reason he wanted to do this was to save his parents the aggravation of having to deal with their situation. He thought he was doing them a favour. We explained to him that, if he wanted to proceed, he would have to talk to his mother and let her know that she would have to be the one to sign all the documentation.

The moral of the story is that not all Power of Attorney documents are the same. We ask questions when children are coming in to discuss bankruptcy or consumer proposal options on behalf of their parents and get all the questions answered before going forward.