Legislation aiming to modernize Powers of Attorney Act in Nova Scotia receives royal assent

New legislation imposes additional conditions for power of attorney to be legally valid

Legislation aiming to modernize Powers of Attorney Act in Nova Scotia receives royal assent

Nova Scotia’s proposed legislation that aims to prevent abuse of individuals appointing someone to manage their property or financial affairs under a power of attorney has received royal assent on Apr. 22, the Ministry of Justice announced.

On Apr. 5, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Brad Johns introduced Bill 131 to amend and modernize the Powers of Attorney Act. The bill seeks to clarify the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved in a power of attorney and provide additional safeguards to protect “donors” from financial abuse. A donor, who is often a senior, is defined as a person who gives authority under a power of attorney to another person to act on their behalf concerning property and finance matters.

“Any kind of abuse is completely unacceptable, and we know that financial abuse is a serious concern for many older Nova Scotians,” said Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care Barbara Adams. “The amendments will deliver peace of mind for seniors and ensure they have the dignity and respect they have earned.”

In particular, the new legislation imposes additional conditions for a power of attorney to be legally valid. A power of attorney should now be in writing, dated, and witnessed by two persons. The new legislation also incorporates modern approaches to assessing capacity for assisted decision-making arrangements.

Moreover, the new legislation provides additional rights and protections favouring donors. These rights include appointing a monitor to whom an “attorney” − a person who is given authority under a power of attorney − must report periodically and upon request.

The justice ministry said that the new legislation would come into effect upon proclamation.

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