To be appointed under a power of attorney for someone who lives in BC, do I need to live in the province?

I live in Alberta. My parents live in BC and want to appoint me as their attorney. Also: do I have to be present in BC when signing the documents?



Vancouver, BC

There are no residency requirements that apply when appointing someone under an enduring power of attorney. Under BC law, a person can ask any mentally capable adult to be their attorney. That can include a spouse, family member such as yourself, close friend, or anyone they trust. It doesn’t matter whether the person lives in or outside of BC. 

One thing to bear in mind: although most transactions and communications can be done online and over the phone, your parents may have a transaction that requires you (as an attorney) to attend in BC in person. Here is more on what to consider when deciding whether to be an attorney (and on the key duties of an attorney).

In terms of signing the documents, you don’t have to be present when your parents sign their powers of attorney. When you’re appointed as an attorney, you do need to sign the document accepting the appointment. But you don’t need to come to BC to do so. You can:

  • sign it in front of two adult witnesses (they don’t have to be lawyers), or 

  • sign it in front of a witness who is a lawyer or a notary public in the province in which you live (this option is generally better, to ensure the witness signature requirements are met). 

If the power of attorney is intended to be used for real estate transactions in BC, all parties must sign it in the presence of a lawyer or notary, although not necessarily at the same time.

Here is more on signing and making an enduring power of attorney.  

Nicco Bautista

Nicco Bautista

BMO Wealth Management
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in July 2021
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada

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