Originally posted by Elaine Blades, May 1, 2014 on: AllAboutEstates.ca
My colleague and fellow blogger, Paul Fensom, recently discussed a Scotiabank poll which found that about 50% of Canadians have a Will in place and only 33% have prepared a Power of Attorney (POA) for Property. Eight percent of those polled said they did not know what a Power of Attorney was. Paul concluded his entry by stating: “clearly, those involved in the industry still have a lot of education to deliver”.
I was still pondering Paul’s comment (and wondering what can or should members of the “estates industry” be doing to better educate the public), when I read Jasmine Sweatman’s most recent entry (on “Walmart Wills”) which ends with the following thought: “What I truly hope with this development is that we continue to take on the mantle of educating our clients and the public about what making a Will and Powers of Attorney is all about”. [I don’t think Jasmine will mind me adding the words in italics].
I like to think the All About Estates blog is one (sharp) arrow in the education quiver. Other arrows include initiatives such as the Ontario Bar Association’s (OBA) “Power of Attorney Month”. Even though “Power of Attorney Month” has just passed, I encourage everyone (the general public and non-estate lawyers in particular, may derive the most benefit) to visit the OBA site. You’ll find lots of easy to access and easy to understand information. Here’s a sample of the FAQs you’ll find:
What is Power of Attorney?
How and when is a Power of Attorney used?
Why is it important to have a lawyer write your POA vs. a DIY kit from Staples or off the internet?
How is a Power of Attorney different from a Will? And, why should you do them both at the same time?
Hopefully these various education initiatives will pay off so that future surveys will have something more encouraging to say.