Your keys duties as attorney

Myth or fact?

As attorney, I should make decisions as I would make them for myself.
  • Myth
  • Fact

When someone (the “adult”) appoints you as their attorney under a power of attorney, they’re in a vulnerable position. As the attorney, you are in a position of confidence and trust toward them. Under the law, there are duties that you must follow.

Duty 1. Act honestly, in good faith, and in the adult’s best interest

The law says you must act honestly and in good faith. Because the adult has placed trust and confidence in you, you have a legal duty to honour that trust. Follow these guidelines.  

Duty 2. Manage the adult's money and property carefully

As the adult’s attorney, you might pay bills, oversee bank accounts, and pay for things they need. You might also make investments, pay taxes, collect rent or unpaid debts, and get insurance if needed. You must be even more careful with the adult’s money than you might be with your own! Follow these guidelines to help you make careful decisions.

Duty 3. Act within the authority you’re given

As attorney, you must only do what the power of attorney document says you can do and you must follow the law. Don’t do something different from the adult's instructions in the power of attorney, even if you have the best intentions. 

Duty 4. Keep good records

As an attorney under a power of attorney, you must keep good records.

Common questions

Who can help

  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in April 2019
  • Time to read: 14 minutes

Reviewed for legal accuracy by

Kevin Smith, Retired lawyer and consultant

Kevin Smith

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