Programs and Services

Power of Attorney

  • Advocacy & Legal

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone the right to act on your behalf. A Power of Attorney is also referred to as a substitute decision maker. There are three types of Power of Attorney:

Power of Attorney for Personal Care - covers personal decisions related to health care, nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene and safety. Continuing Power of Attorney for Property - covers financial affairs and allows the person to act if one becomes mentally incapable. Non-Continuing Power of Attorney for Property - covers financial affairs for a limited time and does not have the power to act if one becomes mentally incapable.

A Power of Attorney may be revoked at any time. You can appoint more than one substitute decision-maker, and you can direct them to make decisions together or separately.

You can choose to appoint anyone who is willing and able to act on your behalf to be your substitute decision-maker except:

  • Someone who is paid to provide you with personal care e.g., your nurse, unless this person is your spouse, partner or relative
  • Someone who is mentally incapable
  • Someone who is under 16 years of age

If you do not appoint an attorney your health care providers must get consent or refusal of consent for treatment from the first person available to act for you from a hierarchy of substitute decision-makers set out by law: your spouse, common-law spouse or partner; your child or parent; your sibling; any other relative.

For more information:

View the Power of Attorney Kit here

Power of Attorney Q&A here

Disclaimer: The MS Society is an independent, voluntary health agency and does not approve, endorse or recommend any specific product or therapy but provides information to assist individuals in making their own decisions. For specific information and advice, please consult your personal physician. Read our full privacy policy.

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